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Bt., F.R.S., D.C.L., LL.D. ^' 

So thou, fair City ! disarrayed 

Of battled wall and ramparts' aid, 

As stately seem'st, but lovelier far 

Than in the panoply of war. 

Nor deem that from thy fenceless throne 

Strength and security are flown ; 

Still, as of yore, Queen of the North ! 

Still can'st thou send thy children forth, 

For fosse and turret proud to stand, , * * ' 

Their breasts the bulwark of the land. "" ' 

Marmion, Canto V., Introduction. 

J i 

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K.G.J K.T. 


Forsitan et nostrum nomen miscebitur istis 



It was told of the devoted and thoroughly compe- 
tent secretary of a certain Antiquarian Society that, 
when he retired on a pension earned by his long 
service, he ceased to show any interest in archaeology. 
When a friend expressed surprise that he should so 
completely have abandoned the study which had 
absorbed the energy of his active years, he replied : 
** Well, I have had more than my share of it, and now 
I wish to God there were nothing older in the world 
than a new-laid egg 1 " 

If, as is not improbable, the reader should find in 
the following pages more of a dead past than is to 
his taste, it will be fortunate for the author if 
impatience finds no sharper expression than by a sen- 
tence, I think, in one of Lord Morley's books, to the 
effect that he did not in the least want to know what 
had happened in the past, except as it enabled him to 
see more clearly through what was happening in the 
present. So it is with the ancient capital of Scotland. 
To enter into the spirit of the place as a visitor — to 
love it intelligently as a citizen thereof — some know- 
ledge of its chequered past is essential. 

The bibliography of Edinburgh is profuse. It is 



as natural as it is meet that so famous a home — so 
prolific a source — of letters should itself become the 
tlieme of countless works in poetry, history, and 
romance. Doubt may be felt and expressed whether 
anything remains to be recorded that cannot be found 
on the shelves of any public library and many private 
ones. Yet there may still be room and use for a 
review of the origin, growth, and social phases of the 
capital city of Scotland — such an essay as R. L. 
Stevenson planned, set hand to, and left as no more 
than a tantalising fragment. 

The following pages have been designed neither as a 
guide-book nor as a historical treatise, but as a retro- 
spective sketch of the forces that have moulded the 
destiny of our city, even as physical agencies have 
carved the enchanting landscape whereof it forms 
a part. 

I desire to acknowledge with gratitude the help I 
have received from my friend Lord Guthrie, who has 
been at the pains to read the proofs, and whose in- 
timate knowledge of his native city has rendered 
him a trustworthy guide through several perplexing 
episodes. Thanks are due also to the Council of the 
Society of Antiquaries of Scotland for the loan of 
blocks illustrating many objects of interest. 


MoNREiTH, October 1916. 


The thanks of the Publishers are due to the Medici 
Society for the opportunity of including in this 
volume the portrait of Mary Queen of Scots, re- 
cently acquired by the nation. Acknowledgments 
are also due to Lord Guthrie for the loan of a portrait, 
and to the Controller of H.M. Stationery Office, 
Edinburgh, for the use of two illustrations, the Seals 
of Holy rood Abbey and the Burgh of Canongate, 
from the Official Guide to Holyroodhouse. 



Libberton Wynd. {In colour) .... Frontispiece 

From the water-colour drawing by G. Cattermole. 


Queen Margaret's Chapel : Chancel Archway ... 8 

St Margaret's Chapel \ 

Seal of Burgh of Canongate > . . . . . .10 

Seal of Holyrood Abbey j 

Inventory of Jew^els removed from Edinburgh Castle, Sep- 
tember 1296— 

A. Endorsement of Inventory . . . . .26 

B. First Part of Inventory . . . . .28 
Plan of Castle showing Remnants of David's Tower . . S6 

Mons Meg 66 

Fragments from the Collegiate Church of the Holy Trinity . 68 

Founded 1462, demolished 1847. 

A. Ornamental Capitals. 

B. Piscina in North Wall of Chantry Chapel. 

C. Arms of Alexander, Duke of Albany, younger 

brother of James III. 
Margaret of Denmark, Queen of James III. .... 70 
From the altar-piece of Holy Trinity Church now in Holy- 
roodhouse, attributed to Van der Goes. 

James III. and his Son, afterwards James IV. ... 72 

From the altar-piece of Holy Trinity Church now in Holy- 
roodhouse, attributed to Van der Goes, 

The Blew Blanket or Crafts-Men's Banner .... 76 

From the drawing in Colston's Incorporated Trades of 

James IV, .......... 80 

From a drawing in the BibliothSque d' Arras. 




Margaret Tudor, Queen of James IV. ..... 82 

From a drawing in the Biblioth^que d' Arras. 

Cardinal Beaton's House, Cowgate ..... 94 

Eagle Lectern at St Stephen's Church, St Albans . . .114 
Holyrood Palace from the North- West, before the removal of 

Earl Moray's House . . . . . . .116 

Engraved by Hollis after E. Blore. 

Arms of James V. formerly on the North- West Tower of 

Holyroodhouse . . . . . . . .118 

Mary Queen of Scots. {In colour) . . . . . .124 

From the panel portrait (French School) recently acquired 
by the National Portrait Gallery. 

John Knox's House . . . . . . . ,128 

The Rev. William Robertson, D.D., Principal of Edinburgh 

University . . , . . . . . .144 

From Kay's Edinburgh Portraits. 

George Heriot : 1563-1624 154 

From the painting by Scougall in Heriot' s Hospital. 

Heriot' s Hospital : North Door . . . . . .156 

Heriot's Hospital and the Grassmarket . . . . .158 

The Nether Bow Port . . . . . . . . l60 

From an engraving by T. Stewart after D. Wilson. 

St Giles's Church in 18th century . . . . . .162 

From an old print. 
The Castle from the Grassmarket . . . . . .166 

The Castle from the Grassmarket . . . . . .168 

From a water-colour drawing by J. D, Harvey. 

Moray House ......... 174 

View of the Castle from the Souths circa 1700 . . .186 
From a drawing in the British Museum. 

Andrew Johnston's View of Edinburgh . . . . .198 

From the original by de Witt. 
Doorway of a Tailor's House, Potter's Row .... 204 

White Horse Close ........ 206 

Doorway of Sir A. Acheson's House . . . . .210 




. 212 


Doorway of Hope House ...... 

Edinburgh Tolbooth and Bell House, at end of 1 6th century 

From a drawing by the Rev. John Sime. 

Edinburgh Tolbooth 21 6 

From a drawing by Nasmyth in the City Museum, 

Allan Ramsay : 1686-1758 

From a mezzotint by G. White after the painting by 


Allan Ramsay's House ....... 

Fleshmarket Close, Edinburgh ..... 

From a water-colour drawing by G. Cattermole. 
Lord Kames \ 

Hugo Arnott > From Kay's Edinburgh Portraits 
Lord Monboddo j 
Adam Smith . . . . . . 

From Kay's Edinburgh Portraits. 
Head of the West Bow . 
St Giles's Church, from the West . 
The North Bridge, before the Railway 

From Shepherd's Modern Athens. 
The North Bridge, with the Railway J 
Holyrood Abbey Church : Remains of the Cloisters 
Holyrood Abbey : West Door, mutilated in rebuilding the 

Palace, 1674-1 679 

Holyrood : Ruins of Abbey Church, looking East . 
Doorway remaining from the Old Abbey of Holyrood 
Holyrood Abbey Church : Part of the Cloister Arcade 
The Canongate Tolbooth ..... 

Gordon House, Castle Hill ..... 

Lady Stair Close ....... 

Lady Stair Close : Doorway ..... 

" Auld Reekie " : View of Edinburgh from St Anthony's Chapel 258 

From a drawing by Alexander Blaikley. 
The New Town from the North-West, circa 1820 ^ 











From Shepherd's Modern Athens. 
The New Town from Ramsay Gardens, circa 1820 





Dugald Stewart (1753-1828), Professor of Moral Philosophy . 262 
From an engraving by Freeman. 

Captain James Burnet, Commander of the City Guard . . 264 

From Kay's Edinburgh Portraits. 

John Kay . . .266 

Drawn and engraved by himself, 1786. From Kay's 
Edinburgh Portraits. 

Henry Brougham, afterwards Lord Brougham and Vaux . 268 

Engraved by Henry Robinson after Sir T. Lawrence. 

James Thomson : 1700-1748 270 

From the painting by J. Patoun in the National Portrait 

Waterloo Place, circa 1 820 274 

From Shepherd's Modern Athens. 

St Giles's Church : The Thistle Chapel 278 

The Rev. Thomas Guthrie, D.D.: 1803-1873 . . .282 
From a photograph in the possession of Lord Guthrie. 

The Rev. Dr Chalmers : 1780-1847 284 

The Mercat Cross ......... 296 

The Maiden and Knox's Pulpit in the National Museum of 

Antiquities ......... 300 



The broad valley that lies like a midland girdle 
across the map of Scotland is studded with a number 
of huge bosses of volcanic rock thrust abruptly out 
of the plain. In Scotland, as in all other lands, 
these precipitous crags presented themselves to the 
primitive race as natural strongholds, and invariably 
retain to this day traces of defensive occupation. 
Some of them v^ere elaborated in later times as 
feudal fortresses, in the shelter of which villages 
sprang up. Where the sea or a navigable river pro- 
vided convenient water-carriage, the village might 
become of commercial importance and attain the 
dimensions of a town or city. Chief among these 
volcanic bosses stand the three basaltic mounts 
named Dunbarton, Stirling, and Edinburgh, each 
of which served as acropolis or citadel to the com- 
munity which gathered round its base. Throughout 
the Middle Ages and after, the fortresses crowning 
these heights were reckoned of the utmost strategic 
importance — Dunbarton, as guarding the entrance 


to the upper Clyde ; ^ Stirling, as commanding the 
principal passes from the Highlands ; and Edinburgh, 
not only as dominating the Firth of Forth, but also, 
after Berwick had passed into English hands, possess- 
ing in its port of Leith the readiest means of com- 
munication with the friendly realm of France. 

Through the development of modern ordnance 
these*^ ancient castles have been shorn of all military 
importance ; as defensive works they are as obsolete 
as Hadrian's vallum or the dun wherein the Pictish 
King Brude received Columba in 593. A single 
battleship in the Forth might knock the Maiden 
Castle into a pile of shapeless ruin in the course of 
an afternoon ; as housing for troops it is more 
picturesque, indeed, but far less convenient, than a 
modern barracks. Yet may no citizen of Edinburgh 
speak slightingly of the Castle Rock, for that was 
the lodestone which drew the earliest settlers. On 
its wind-swept crest, far seen above the primseval 
forest, they planted their wattled huts, surrounding 
the encampment, no doubt, with the customary 
rampart of rough stones, strengthened with palisad- 
ing. There was room enough on that broad summit 
for a considerable community, which, as may be 
inferred from the chronicle of Dio Cassius (a.d. 
180-220), was ignorant, or at least independent, of 

1 Dunbarton was the capital of the Cymri or Britons of Strath- 
clyde. It was named in their Welsh language Alcluyd — Clyde's 
Cliff; but their Gaelic neighbours and foes called it Dun Bretann — 
the Britons' Fortress. 


agriculture, living by the chase and on wild fruits 
in the surrounding woodland, and well supplied with 
water from the springs which continue at this day 
to distil from the rock. 

Such, or something like it, must have been the 
primitive settlement on the Castle Rock ; but the 
date of earliest occupation and the race of men 
who effected it must remain matters of speculation, 
guided in some measure by the evidence obtained 
in exploring similar natural strongholds in this 
country and other parts of Western Europe, where 
the traces of successive occupation have not been 
obliterated or rendered inaccessible by modern 
buildings, as is the case on the Castle Rock of 

It is remarkable that although the Scottish Low- 
lands were occupied by the Romans more or less 
continuously from the year a.d. 14® till the with- 
drawal of the legions at the close of the fourth 
century, there is no indication that their commanders 
made any strategic use of such salient features as 
the rocks of Edinburgh, Stirling, and Dunbarton. 
They laid out their camps, whether as a temporary 
entrenchment to receive a column on the march, 
or as a permanent station {castrum stativum), accord- 
ing to the strict rules of castrametation described 
by Polybius, trusting to the vallum and fossa, with 
or without palisading, for defence of the temporary 
camps, and fortifying the permanent ones with stone 
walls and bastions. It is to rigid adherence by the 


legionary commanders to these regulations that one 
must attribute the absence of all traces of Roman 
roads, camp, or buildings in Edinburgh and its 
immediate neighbourhood ; although that great de- 
fensive work, Antonine's Wall, ended only twelve 
miles to the west of the city, and the important 
military station and arsenal at Newstead, near 
Melrose, lay only thirty miles distant on the south- 
east, each implying the presence of very large bodies 
of troops. 

In endeavouring to penetrate the mist which 
envelops the origin of the Scottish metropolis, it is 
natural to seek for an explanation of its name. Rivers 
of ink have flowed in controversy over this matter — 
controversy arising chiefly, it would seem, out of 
confusion between the Gaelic eudan, a hill brow,^ and 
the personal name Edwin. The confusion has been 
aggravated by the fact that about twelve miles west 
of Edinburgh is the historic ruin of Blackness Castle 
built on a precipitous blufl* jutting out into the Firth 
of Forth. ^ The name of this site and the parish 
surrounding it is Carriden, which may very well be 
interpreted as the Gaelic cathair (caer) eudainn^ the 

1 Literally the forehead, but figuratively applied to land 
features, just as in English we speak of the ^' brow " of a hill or 
the "flank" of a mountain. 

2 Blackness Castle, once a royal fortress of the first rank, was 
still considered so important in 1707 that its maintenance as part 
of the national defences was guaranteed in the Act of Union. It 
is now included in the group of buildings composing an ammunition 
store and magazine. 


fort on the headland, a name rightly descriptive of 
the place. 

In the seventh century, or thereby, the Welsh 
bard Aneurin composed the epic called the Gododin, 
describing the defeat of his countrymen the Britons 
(Welsh) of Strathclyde by the Saxons, has the follow- 
ing couplet : 

When the strangers came from Dineiddyn 
Every wise man was expelled from the country. 

The same place, Dineiddyn, is mentioned in one of 
the poems attributed to the bard Taliessin, who lived 
in the sixth century. Now Dineiddyn may be an 
exact Welsh equivalent to the Gaelic catliair eudainn 
— indicating Carriden or Blackness ; if that be so, then 
it has been wrongly identified with Edinburgh, 
whereof the Gaelic name is Dunedin,^ to which a very 
different meaning has been attached. 

In A.D. 617 Edwin, or, as the name is written 
in Anglo-Saxon, Eadwine, became King of Deira 
(Yorkshire) ; thereafter, by his conquest of Bernicia 
and Lothian, he formed the consolidated kingdom of 
Northumbria, and in the year 627 was converted to 
Christianity by the missionary bishop Paulinus, whom 
he made Archbishop of York. The tradition which 
attributes to this powerful king the foundation of 
Edinburgh and interprets the name as Eadwine' s bur^h 

^ The Irish annalist Tighearnach, writing in the eleventh century 
the life of S. Monenna, who died in the sixth century, describes 
how she founded a number of churches in Scotland, one of which 
was in Dunedene que Anglica lingua dicitur Edineburg ; that is, " in 
Dunedin, which in the English language is called Edinburgh." 


is proved to be very ancient by the fact that in King 
David's foundation charter of Holyrood in 1128 the 
church is called " Ecclesia Sancti Crucis Edwines- 
burgensis," and about the same date Simeon of 
Durham writes the name Edwinesburch. This ex- 
planation was frankly accepted by Maitland in his 
History of Edinburgh and Chalmers in his Caledonia. 
Yet it has not satisfied all who have investigated the 
problem, and those who wish to hear what may be 
said against it will find another view expressed in a 
paper by Mr Peter Miller in the Proceedings of the 
Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol. xxiii. (1889), 
pp. 323-332. 

Before leaving this subject, it may be noted that 
the earliest name recorded to denote what is now 
Edinburgh is the Welsh " Mynyd Agned." The 
eighth-century chronicler Nennius, in describing the 
twelve battles of the semi-mythical Arthur of the 
Round Table, states that the eleventh was fought 
early in the sixth century in monte qui dicitur Agned 
— "in the mount which is called Agned." Arthur 
waged war indifferently against pagan Saxons and 
apostate Picts, and Mynyd Agned is believed to 
have been the principal stronghold of the Southern 
Picts. Now Mynyd Agneaid in old Welsh means 
the Painted Mount, or the Mount of the Painted 
Ones, for a Briton of early times would use the verb 
agneaw, to paint, where a modern Welshman would 
say paentio or lliwio. One is tempted to assume in 
this a reference to the Picts or Painted People ; 


but to pursue this clue any further would land 
us in the very thick of another fierce controversy : 
for, whereas Geoffrey of Monmouth (1100 ?-54) laid 
the scene of Arthur's campaigns in the southern 
and midland counties of England and poets dealing 
with the Arthurian legend have followed his lead, 
Dr Skene held that all these battles took place north 
of the Tweed, and assigned places for each of them, 
aided by the uncertain light reflected from place- 
names. In truth, it is not likely that certainty can 
ever be reached through the tangle of myth and 
tradition that has gathered round the shadowy 
personality of Arthur. Not until four centuries after 
Arthur's dramatic death at Camlan (which Geoffrey 
identifies with Camlan in Cornwall, while Malory 
places it " upon a down beside Salisbury, not far 
from the seaside," and Skene claims Camelon in 
Stirlingshire as the true site) — not, 1 say, until the 
middle of the tenth century do we seem to feel the 
ground hardening under our feet and to exchange 
nebulous and contradictory legend for authentic 
narrative. Thus in the Pictish Chronicle, compiled, 
apparently, about a.d. 985, it is stated that Indulf, 
son of Constantin, became King of Scots in 954, and 
that during his reign of eight years Oppidum Eden, 
that is Dunedin or Edinburgh, was vacated by the 
Angles and occupied by the Scots, who, adds the 
chronicler, have held it ever since. 

Thereafter Edinburgh makes no appearance in 
history until after the marriage of Malcolm III. 


(known among his Celtic subjects as Malcolm Cean- 
mor) with Margaret, the beautiful and saintly daughter 
of Edward the Exile and sister of Edgar Atheling, 
which was celebrated at Dunfermline between 
A.D. 1067 and 1070. 

Hitherto Malcolm's court and residence had been 
at Dunfermline, which was therefore in a fair way of 
becoming the capital of Scotland; for Malcolm, by 
his victory at Lumphanan over Lulach, nephew of 
Macbeth, had for the first time consolidated Scotland 
into something like a single realm. Indeed, the date 
of the battle of Lumphanan — 15th August 1057 — 
may be regarded as the true birthday of the Scottish 
nation. But Queen Margaret, who was a w^onian of 
strong character as well as active piety, seems to have 
persuaded her husband that Edinburgh was a more 
desirable abode than Dunfermline. Being herself of 
the Saxon race, she probably found the Saxon people 
of Lothian more congenial than the Celts beyond the 
Forth ; and King Malcolm, in yielding to her wishes, 
no doubt proved Edinburgh to be a more convenient 
base of operations in the war he waged in support of 
his brother-in-law Edgar Atheling against William 
of England. 

Anyhow, Malcolm and Margaret are the first 
crowned heads to be closely associated with Edin- 
burgh, unless it be assumed that Edwin of Northumbria 
had already given his name to the castle. Queen 
Margaret was an ardent reformer both in religious 
and secular affairs. At her request, Lanfranc, 

QUEEN Margaret's chapel, chancel archway. 

* It -I 


Archbishop of Canterbury, sent Friar Goldwin and 
two other monks to assist her in bringing the Celtic 
Church into conformity with the Roman order/ 
They held a council in the castle, King Malcolm 
acting as interpreter between the English envoys and 
the Gaelic clergy. The result was the regulation of 
the Lenten fast, the observance of the Lord's Day by 
ceasing from work, the prohibition of marriage be- 
tween a man and his stepmother or his brother's widow, 
besides sundry other matters in which the practice of 
the Celtic Church was held to be corrupt. But it is 
recorded that Queen Margaret failed to persuade the 
Gaelic priests to consent to admit women to public 
worship, wherein the rule of the Celtic Church corre- 
sponded with that of the Eastern. 

It was not only for her piety and severe fastings 
that Margaret became esteemed more highly than 
any other Queen of Scots ; she endeared herself 
to the people by laborious care for their necessities. 
It is said that she fed three hundred poor persons 
daily, washing their feet and kissing them. Ailred of 
Rievaux records that she brought with her to 
Scotland a golden casket an ell in length, shaped 
like a cross, bearing on the outside an image of the 
Saviour carved in ebony, and containing within a 
piece of the true Cross. This became known as the 
Black Rood of Scotland — most sacred of all the 
national treasures. It was kept within the chapel 
which Queen Margaret built on the extreme summit 

^ Appendix A, Lanfrancs Letter to Queen Margaret. 



of the Castle Rock ; it was surrendered to Edward 
of England in 1291, together with all the insignia of 
Scottish royalty and the national muniments, and 
was not restored until the independence of Scotland 
was formally recognised under the treaty of North- 
ampton in 1328.^ 

In the autumn of 1093 King Malcolm invaded 
England for the fifth time, leaving Queen Margaret 
grievously ill in Edinburgh Castle. On 16th 
November they brought her news that the King 
and her eldest son Edward had been killed near 
Alnwick on the 13th. The shock was more than she 
could bear in her enfeebled state ; she expired almost 
immediately, only three days after her husband.* 

Under the Gaelic law of tanistry the succession 
to the throne would have devolved on Donald Ban, 
the late King's younger brother ; but Malcolm had 
abolished that custom and adopted the law of 
primogeniture, under which Duncan, his eldest son 
by his first wife Ingioborg, should succeed. Donald, 
however, was first in the field, and, marching to 
Edinburgh, laid siege to the Castle, where the Queen's 
body still lay unburied, guarded by her own sons, 
one of whom the Lowland Scots held to be the rightful 

^ Y'oung David II. took the Black Rood with him when he 
invaded England in 1346. He lost it, and with it his own liberty, 
at the battle of Neville's Cross ; it was set up in the south aisle of 
Durham Cathedral, and finally disappeared in the disorders of the 

2 Queen Margaret was canonised by Innocent IV. in 1251, and 
in 1693 Innocent XII. transferred her feast day from l6th November 
to 10th June. 

ST Margaret's chapel. 



? .• 

ti * ^J 

-1- V 
^ Of 


heir of the Crown. ^ Now in that age there were but 
two methods recognised as effective in getting rid 
of rivals to an inheritance, viz. putting them to 
death or destroying their sight. To one or other of 
these dooms Duncan would assuredly have committed 
Queen Margaret's sons had he caught them ; but 
** forasmuch as that spot [the Castle Rock] is in 
itself strongly fortified by nature, he thought that 
the gates only should be guarded, because it was not 
easy to see any other entrance or outlet." ^ Howbeit 
there was a postern on the west side of the castle, 
through which the lads made their escape to their 
mother's friends in England. Through the same 
postern the Queen's body was taken and conveyed 
for sepulture to Dunfermline ; the transaction being 
conducted under cover of a fog, which, as John 
of Fordun piously observes, *' miraculously sheltered 
the party from detection by their enemies."^ In 
the present sceptical age Edinburgh citizens may be 
slow to discern anything miraculous in a November 
fog ; but it may be noted that, nearly five hundred 
years after Queen Margaret's death, John Knox 
referred to the easterly haar which lent its gloom 
to the landing of Mary Queen of Scots at Leith 
in August 1561, as "that forewarning God gave 
unto us." 

1 Of Queen Margaret's six sons, Edward was killed with his 
father at Alnwick, and three others became successively Kings of 
Scots, viz. Edgar (1097-1107), Alexander (1107-24), and David 

2 Fordun's Chronicle^ book v. chap. 21. 


The original arrangement of the walls at the 
postern (which is now built up) and the path leading 
from it are clearly shown in a plan dated 1725, 
now in possession of H.M. Office of Works (see 
Plate, p. 36). 

It has been " mair by luck than guid guidance," 
to quote a Scots saying, that Queen Margaret's 
Chapel has survived the many sieges and changes 
that have affected the buildings on the Castle Rock. 
So little was its sacred character respected by the 
War Office that at one time a floor was let into 
the ancient masonry to form a second story, fitting 
it for use as a powder magazine. Its very ex- 
istence was overlooked till the late Sir Daniel 
Wilson established its identity as the chapel of 
Saint Margaret, and the Society of Scottish Anti- 
quaries succeeded in getting it restored to its 
original shape. Although there is no doubt that 
Queen Margaret crowned this rock-platform with a 
chapel, and although the lower courses of masonry 
may be those originally laid by her masons, the 
decorated chancel arch seems to be of later date, 
corresponding in character to the doorway on the 
south side of Holyrood Abbey Church, which, al- 
though founded in 1128, could scarcely have been 
built until the middle of that century. In any case, 
one should be thankful that St JNIargaret's Chapel 
has come pretty safely through the vicissitudes of 
a stormy past, and has not shared the fate of nearly 
all the Norman architecture of Scotland. 


Although, Malcolm Ceanmdr, as aforesaid, suc- 
ceeded in uniting the various races in northern 
Britain into the semblance of a single realm, he 
left the kingdom at his death in 1093 without even 
a nominal capital. Perhaps if Queen Margaret's 
eldest son Edward had lived to succeed to the throne 
in accordance with his father s intention, the prefer- 
ence shown by Margaret for Edinburgh as a residence 
would have caused him to establish it as the per- 
manent seat of government. But the day was still 
far distant when Edinburgh should be recognised 
as of any greater importance than Berwick, Rox- 
burgh, Stirling, Perth, or Dunfermline. Malcolm and 
Edward having perished at Alnwick, Malcolm's 
brother Donald Ban seized the crown, and kept it 
for six months, when he was put to flight by his 
nephew Duncan II., who enjoyed the support of 
William Rufus. Duncan, in turn, reigned for six 
months, till he was entrapped by his half-brother 
Edmund and his uncle Donald Ban, and done to 
death by Malpeder, Mormaer of Mearns. Back came 
Donald Ban, to reign for three years, until William 
Rufus took it into his head to back the claim of 
Queen Margaret's fourth son, Edgar, who invaded 
Scotland in 1097, captured his uncle Donald, put 
out his eyes, imprisoned him for life and reigned in 
his stead.^ The realm still consisted of two nations 

1 After relating these events and describing Donald's doom, 
Fordun quaintly continues : " Now after Edgar had been peacefully 
raised to the throne {in regnnm pacifice cum sublimatusjnerat)." 


— the Gael and the Saxon — each striving for mastery. 
Donald Ban and Duncan were Gaels, whose seat of 
authority would most naturally be at Perth, known 
at that time as St John's-town ; while Edgar repre- 
sented the rule of the Saxon, and governed from 

It was not, however, until Queen Margaret's 
youngest son, David, came to the throne in 1124 
that Anglo-Norman feudalism dominated all other 
systems in the northern realm. David made Edin- 
burgh, so full of memories of his saintly mother, his 
chief residence. No charter or other record has been 
preserved fixing the exact date when Edinburgh was 
constituted a royal burgh, but there can be little 
doubt that it held that status in King David's reign, 
probably receiving its first charter from that monarch. 
The country immediately adjoining the castle was his 
favourite hunting-ground, being clothed with "ane 
gret forest full of hartis, hyndis, toddis [foxes], and 
siclike maner of beastis."^ Hence it was called 
Drumselch, from the Gaelic druim sealg^ meaning 
the hunting hill, a name still preserved in the 
form Drumsheuch. Bordering on this chace was 
the barony of Penicuik (the cuckoo's hill), which 
was held of old from the Crown for the reddendo 
or rent of the annual winding of six blasts on a 
hunting horn — in cornu JiatilL 

In this forest, according to ecclesiastical script and 
popular tradition, King David met with an adventure 

Bellenden's translation of Boece, b. xii. c. l6. 


fraught with notable result to the history of Edin- 
burgh. It is affirmed that he was persuaded by some 
of his young knights to go a-hunting in Drumselch 
immediately after hearing mass on Holy Rood Day 
(14th September). The King's confessor, Alwin, 
warned him against profaning such a solemn festival ; 
nevertheless, he rode forth from the castle *' with sic 
noyis and dyn of rachis [hounds] and bugillis that all 
the bestis were raisit fra thair dennys [dens]." By 
the time he reached the foot of Salisbury Crags, the 
king had got separated from his company — more's 
the pity, for even the royal account of what followed 
stands in some need of corroborative evidence. He 
saw before him "the fairest hart that evir wes 
sene . . . with auful and braid tyndis [antlers]." It 
immediately charged the king, whose horse bolted. 
The stag gave chase, overtook him and "dang 
[threw] baith the kyng and his hors to the ground." 
The king, grasping at the beast's antlers to save 
himself, found in his hands a cross which had been 
miraculously extended to him; whereupon, "the 
hart fled away with gret violence and euanist 
[vanished] in the same place quhare now springis 
the Rude Well." 

In the night following this adventure. King David 
had a vision, whereby he was bidden to found an 
abbey to commemorate the timely succour he had 
received from on high. In obedience to this com- 
mand, he founded the Abbey of Holy Rood in the 
year 1128, bringing Augustinian canons regular from 


St Andrews to form a convent and appointing his 
confessor Alwin the first abbot. In the later MS. 
copies of Bellenden's translation of Boece's history 
we are told that the king, acting on Alwin's advice, 
sent to France and Flanders for "rycht crafty 
masounis " to build the abbey ; but this statement 
has no place in the earlier copies, and, in any case, 
probably applies to the building of the far larger 
house begun between the years 1143 and 1147, 
whereof the foundation charter is still in existence. 
At first it appears that the monks were accommo- 
dated on or under the Castle Rock itself, probably 
in the building hitherto occupied by a convent of 
nuns.^ This building seems to be represented on the 
seal of the monastery appended to a deed executed 
by Abbot Alwin in 1141.^ It represents a curious 
wooden building, resembling the well-known example 
of an Anglo-Saxon church at Grinstead in Essex, 
constructed of massive slabs of oak. The new abbey 
and its church, no doubt, were built in the prevailing 
Romanesque or Norman Gothic, of which a door- 
way at the south-east angle of the present ruined 
nave is the sole architectural feature remaining. It 
is not likely that King David, who died early in 
1153, saw more than the choir with its apse or the 
choir and crossing completed ; for the sorely shattered 

^ Edinburgh Castle is frequently designated in early MSS. 
Castruni Puellarum — the Castle of the Maidens ; and the existence 
of a convent of nuns within its precincts is one of many origins 
suggested for that name. 

2 See Plate, p. 10. 


remains of the nave are in the First Pointed style of 
the thirteenth century. 

King David endowed the abbey very richly, 
conveying to the canons, besides extensive grants of 
land, power to found a new burgh between the 
abbey and the king's burgh of Edinburgh. The 
street which they built naturally got the name of 
the Canongate,^ and the burgh of Canongate re- 
mained a separate municipality for three hundred 
years after its abbot and his canons had been swept 
away in the flood of the Reformation. Governed 
by a provost and bailies, it bore on its seal a royal 
hart's head erased, with a cross between its antlers 
in memory of its royal founder,^ and was finally 
incorporated with the city of Edinburgh in 1856. 
Ninety-two years before that date — in 1764 — the 
Town Council of Edinburgh had caused the Nether 
Bow Port to be demolished, thereby obliterating the 
frontier dividing the city from the Canongate, and, 
at the same time, destroying one of the most 
picturesque features of the Old Town. 

King David died at Carhsle in 1153 ; his elder son 
Malcolm had been strangled in childhood by Donald 
Ban (political measures being of a drastic character 
in the twelfth century), and his second son Henry 
predeceased his father, wherefore Henry's eldest son 
succeeded as Malcolm IV., known as " the Maiden." 

1 Meaning the street or road of the canons, "gate" meaning a 
road in the northern dialect ; the gate of a town being called 
a "port." 

2 See Plate, p. 10. 



He appointed Galfrid de Melville governor of 
Edinburgh Castle; but Malcolm usually held his 
court at Scone, which seemed to indicate Perth as 
likely to become the capital of Scotland ; while 
William the Lion, who followed Malcolm on the 
throne in 1165, made Haddington his favourite 

King William, invading England in pursuance of 
his claim to Northumberland, was taken prisoner at 
Alnwick in 1174, regaining his liberty at a ransom of 
£100,000 — a huge sum at that period, — fealty to 
Henry II. of England for his realm of Scotland, and 
the surrender of the castles of Edinburgh, Stirling, 
Berwick, Roxburgh, and Jedburgh, to be held, with 
two-and-twenty nobles as hostages, in security for 
payment of the ransom and for good behaviour. Such 
were the onerous conditions imposed by the treaty of 
Falaise — source of bloodshed and tears for centuries 
to come. For twelve years Edinburgh Castle was 
garrisoned by English troops, being restored to King 
William as part of the dowry of Ermengarde de 
Beaumont, King Henry's cousin, whom he married 
in 1186. 

Sixty-five years later the royal families of England 
and Scotland were attached by a still closer tie in 
1251, when Alexander III., King of Scots, being ten 
years of age, was wedded to Margaret, eldest daughter 
of Henry III. of England, aged fifteen. The young 
couple had a dismal home-coming. There was, as 
usual, an English and a Scottish party among the 


Scottish nobles, each striving its utmost for possession 
of the monarch's person. Edinburgh Castle had 
been assigned to the boy-king and his consort as 
their residence ; but it proved to be more a prison 
than a palace. Walter Comyn, Earl of Menteith, 
was governor of the Castle. He was a powerful 
leader of what may be termed the patriot party, 
and appointed Robert de Ros and John de BalioP 
as guardians of the king and queen. Margaret 
was not allowed the society of her husband, and, 
as representing English influence, was warded 
with discourtesy and severity. She wrote to King 
Henry complaining bitterly of her treatment, being 
confined, she said, "in a sad and solitary place, 
without verdure, and unwholesome from being so 
near the sea." She was not even allowed to choose 
her own maids. 

Now this was exceedingly bad policy on the part 
of the nationalist leaders, for Henry IH. was very 
well disposed towards the northern kingdom, and if 
Comyn had conciliated the young king and queen by 
kindly exercise of his power he might have won 
permanent ascendency over the leaders of the Anglican 
faction. The result of his severity was to bring 
King Henry and Queen Eleanor to Wark Castle, 
whence they sent the Earl of Gloucester, John 
Mansel, and Alan Durward to inquire into matters 

1 Founder of Baliol College, Oxford, and father of John, success- 
ful competitor for the crown of Scotland under King Edward's 
arbitration in 1291. 


in Edinburgh. Durward, albeit twice justiciar of 
Scotland, wasted no time in listening to evidence ; 
but, being always a strong Anglican partisan, took 
advantage of the absence of Menteith, who was 
attending a council at Stirling, and seized the Castle 
and the person of King Alexander. De Ros and 
Baliol were removed from office and their lands were 
forfeited ; seven of " the king's friends," or English 
faction, were appointed as a new council, and Queen 
Margaret went off to stay with her mother for 
a while. She died on 26th February 1275. 

" Woe to the kingdom whose king is a child ! " 
exclaims the chronicler Fordun in describing the 
events of these days and the kidnapping of Alexander 
alternately by the two factions. To follow his 
narrative would lead us far from Edinburgh ; enough 
to note here that King Alexander developed into a 
powerful and sagacious ruler, consolidating his king- 
dom by the final expulsion of the Norsemen, and 
making Edinburgh the chief seat of his residence 
and rule. 

It was in Edinburgh Castle that he held his last 
council, on 19th March 1286, a day of furious storm. 
Having supped heartily thereafter, the king declared 
his intention of riding over to visit his newly wedded 
Queen Yoleta in Fife. In vain did his courtiers 
endeavour to persuade him to wait till the gale had 
blown itself out — in vain did the boatman at Queens- 
ferry warn him against attempting to cross in such 
wild weather. King Alexander was still in his prime 


— only forty-four ; he had a good supper under his 
belt and — he was in love. He persisted, and made 
the crossing in safety ; but, as he rode along near 
Kinghorn in the mirk night his horse stumbled and 
rolled over the sea-clifF v^ith him, whereby the Scottish 
nation lost the best king they had ever known or 
were to know for many years to come. 

** The rise of free towns," wrote the late Cosmo 
Innes, " with privilege of trade and the ascertained 
right to govern themselves by their own laws, is 
perhaps always and everywhere the most important 
step in national advancement."^ We have outlived 
and discarded feudalism (though some modern poli- 
ticians profess to detect its " shackles " still weighing 
down our social system), and certain historical writers 
never weary of expatiating upon it as the arch-enemy 
of freedom. None the less, the establishment of 
feudal institutions by David (1124-53) was the chief 
agent in the origin and growth of free towns or 
burghs^ in southern and midland Scotland. North 
of the Highland line certain burghs had already 
grown up under the semi-feudal administration of 
Malcolm Ceanmdr ; but it required the erection of 
royal and baronial fortresses all over the Lowlands to 

1 Sketches of Early Scottish History, p. 153. 

2 The English "borough" is written "burgh" in Scotland, 
though the pronunciation is identical. It is only in Anglian 
Lothian that it forms part of ancient place-names, as Edinburgh, 
Musselburgh, Jedburgh, Roxburgh, and Dryburgh. Fraserburgh 
in Aberdeen was not so named till the reign of James VI, ; New- 
burgh in Fife dates from 1266, and Colinsburgh is quite modern. 


induce men to gather into communities under their 
protection. In return for that protection certain 
duties were imposed upon the citizens, and the 
discharge of such duties was recognised by the 
bestowal of peculiar privileges. Most onerous among 
these duties was that of castle-ward — that is, the 
obligation upon the citizens of serving in rotation 
for forty days as garrison, or part of the garrison, of 
the castle. In the case of royal castles, this obliga- 
tion was laid upon the lords of baronies outside, often 
far outside, the bounds of the burgh growing up 
under shelter of the fortress.^ In the fourteenth 
century it had become customary for barons and 
country gentlemen, whose lands were liable to this 
service, to commute it for an annual payment, and 
the fund thus collected was applied to the employ- 
ment of paid soldiers. 

Without going minutely into the nature and ex- 
tent of the rights enjoyed by the freemen of Scottish 
burghs, which, from the reign of David I. onwards, 
corresponded closely with — indeed, were framed on 
the lines of — those of English boroughs, it may be 
well to bear in mind their general character. A 
burgh was a community of freemen — liberi burgenses 
or probi homines, self-governed and possessing a 
common right in the revenue derived from duties on 

1 The earliest documentary evidence of this practice is in a 
charter of Malcolm IV., who in II 60 granted certain lands in 
Morayshire for the obligation of " rendering to me the service of 
one knight in my castle of Elgin" (Familie ojlnnesy p. 51). 


imports and exports, rents and fines imposed on 
malefactors. The constitution was the same whether 
the dominus villce — the superior of the demesne — 
was the monarch as in the case of the royal burghs, 
a prelate or convent of monks as in the case of 
ecclesiastical burghs, or a powerful noble as in the 
case of burghs of barony. The necessary qualification 
for burgage, conveying the status of freeman, was 
the ownership of not less than a rood of land within 
the burgh and the erection thereon of a dwelling 
(mansio) however humble. Residence, however, was 
not obligatory; strangers, convents, and country- 
dwellers acquired the franchise with the property, 
and the right was heritable by the heirs of freemen. 
Thrice a year the whole body of freemen were sum- 
moned together in the open air to perambulate the 
marches, to admit to the franchise such persons as 
were properly qualified, and to make bye-laws. Such 
meetings were termed "mutes" or "folk-motes." 
The council of burgh-reeves (prcepositi) was elected 
at the Michaelmas mute by the freemen, and they in 
turn elected the alderman ; but it was not long 
before these titles fell into disuse in Scotland, the 
alderman becoming known as the provost and the 
burgh-reeves as bailies. The latest instance of the 
chief magistrate of Edinburgh having the title of 
" Alderman " prefixed to his name appears to have 
been John of Leuyntoun (Livingstone) in 1423 ; but 
as late as 1439 an Act in the Burgh Records bears 
to have been passed by " the Alderman, the Bailies 


and the Counsale of the Toun, and sundrie of the 

It is not possible to trace to its origin the practice 
of co-operation among the burghs of Scotland for 
maintenance of their rights and for advancing their 
commerce and other interests. Aberdeen and the 
other principal towns north of the Forth were already 
combined in a " hanse " or league in the reign of 
David I., at which period the southern burghs were 
accustomed to send representatives to a council 
presided over by the King's Chamberlain. This 
developed into the Court or Parliament of the 
Four Burghs — Berwick, Roxburgh, Edinburgh, and 
Stirling,^ whence issued under royal authority the 
Leges Quatuor Burgorum, These laws were, in 
fact, a codification of burghal constitutions and 
usages, which, being in advance of the civilisation 
of the period and coinciding in a remarkable degree 
with Roman law, have been pronounced by some 
writers learned in such matters to have had their 
source in Roman institutions and practice. Had- 
dington was for more than three centuries the usual 
place for the court to meet, but in 1454 James II. 
fixed it in Edinburgh by letters patent. This is the 
origin of the Convention of Royal Burghs — an active 
and influential corporation at the present day. 

The powers with which town councils were in- 

^ In 1368, when Berwick and Roxburgh had passed into posses- 
sion of the English, Lanark and LinUthgow were enrolled in 
their place in the court. 


vested were very considerable. Their jurisdiction 
was exclusive within their own bounds in all matters 
civil and criminal, except the four pleas of the 
Crown. A burgess could not be summoned before 
the king's court or that of any other authority ; at 
least, if he were so summoned, he was bound to 
attend and enter protest "that in his awne court 
of the burgh befor his aldirman or his bailye he 
sail do full rycht."^ Needless to say, these privileges 
and others of a different kind were often overridden 
by powerful subjects during the troubled dynasty 
of the Stuarts, but they were never surrendered or 
forfeited, and were scrupulously saved in the Act 
abolishing hereditary jurisdiction in Scotland (20 
George II., c. 43, §§ 26, 27). 

^ Leges Quatuor Burgorum, c. 56. 


The long reign of Alexander III. (1249-86) had 
brought about a notable growth in the solidarity, 
wealth, and influence of the Scottish nation. While 
the first of these conditions was increased, the other 
two were greatly diminished by events consequent 
on the interregnum, 1290-92. The general course 
of these events is too well known to brook recapi- 
tulation here, save as they relate directly to Edin- 
burgh and its Castle. 

That Castle, greatly strengthened by King Alex- 
ander, was handed over with the other Scottish 
fortresses to Edward I. as Lord Paramount, 4th 
June 1291, pending his award of the crown. Sir 
Ralph Basset of Drayton was appointed castellan, 
all public muniments and records stored in the 
Castle being sent to Berwick to be deposited in 
King Edward's treasury in that town. 

Five years later, following upon John Baliol's half- 
hearted revolt against his overlord. King Edward 
halted for a couple of nights in Edinburgh on his 
march to Elgin. On this occasion all the plate and 
jewellery found in the castle were looted and sent 
off in charge of John le Chandelar to Westminster, 



iX^te'" cr^^'* 

r C:. C- Q. £.M^. ~ n.v^ 

c- ^it' <S>^H^~ 


SEPTEMBER 1296. [Exchequer Q.R. Miscellanea, Wardrobe, No. 32/25.) 


On 17th September in the 24th year all the within- written jewels were sent 
from Berwick to London by the hands of John the Chandler in three coffers 
marked as within. And a great coffer and two small coffers with divers writ- 
ings and memoranda found in the Castle of Edinburgh, and a coffer with 
relics found there ; and 19 horns " de bucle " and a griffon's horn, delivered in 
the Wardrobe by Sir Robert Giffart and Sir Hugh de Robury, found in a certain 
priory near Forfare ; and a fardel with divers things of the Bishop of St Andrews, 
delivered in the Wardrobe by Sir John de Swineburne, knight, Keeper of the said 
bishopric, in the beginning of September, and a great silver alms-dish. 

All these the said John [the Chandler] delivered to Sir John de Drokenford, 
who deposited them in the Wardrobe at Westminster. 

A J "' ~ * 


'•» .1 


where a full inventory of the booty is still preserved 
in the chapter-house. Howbeit, there was left 
behind one object more precious in the sight of 
Scotsmen than either jewels or plate. An entry in 
the wardrobe accounts of Edward 1. shows that in 
1304 there remained in Edinburgh Castle una petra 
magna super quam reges Scocie solebant coronari — 
'* a great stone whereon the Kings of Scotland used 
to be crowned." This, of course, was the Lia Fail — 
the Stone of Destiny — which served through many 
reigns as the coronation stone in royal Scone. It 
is not known when or by whom it was brought to 
Edinburgh — whether by David I., when he fixed his 
seat of government there, or by Edward I., with the 
intention of carrying it off to London, an intention 
which he lived to fulfil before his death in 1307. 
In Westminster Abbey it still remains, albeit many 
patriot Scots consider that it should have been 
restored to their country along with the other 
honours of Scotland. 

Wherever the King of England halted during this 
expedition of 1296, there was a gaol delivery, with 
a pitiable amount of hanging. Thomas, chaplain of 
Edinburgh, evidently a fervid patriot, was tried on a 
charge of having publicly pronounced excommunica- 
tion on the King of England with bell and candle, 
and Richard Guile was tried for ringing the said bell. 
Both the accused pled guilty, but, claiming benefit 
of clergy, they were handed over to be dealt with by 
the archdeacon of Lothian, with what result is not 


recorded. It was during this expedition, also, that 
mention first occurs of the name of an Edinburgh 
magistrate, to wit, WilHam de Dedyk or de Fotherig, 
alderman, who, with twelve burgesses, signed the 
Ragman Roll of allegiance to King Edward. 

During Wallace's rising (1297-98), although both 
Stirling town and castle were taken by the Scots, 
who also occupied the towns of Edinburgh, Berwick, 
and Roxburgh, the English garrisons in these three 
castles made good their defence until the patriot 
cause was crushed, for the time being, at Falkirk, 
22nd July 1298. At this time Sir John de Kingston, 
a knight of considerable renown, was governor 
of Edinburgh Castle. The exact strength of his 
garrison is not known, but it was probably much 
the same as it was in February 1300, namely, 7 
knights, 17 esquires, 67 men-at-arms, 18 crossbowmen, 
60 archers, etc. — in all, 347 of all ranks, with 156 
horses. There seems to have been no difficulty 
about supplies, which were shipped at Berwick and 
safely conveyed to Leith under protection of the 
powerful Earl of Dunbar — " Patrick with the blak 
herd," eighth earl, who was in the English interest. 

The town and castle of Edinburgh receive but 
infrequent notice in contemporary documents of the 
next dozen years or so, the tide of battle rolling 
farther to the north and west. In October 1301 
siege engines were despatched by the constable. Sir 
John Kingston, for King Edward's use m reducing 
Bothwell Castle; in March 1304 he received orders 



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^ In a coffer with a cross are the underwritten : — 

• * 

ivritten : — ^ - . > ••'*7»,3'» 

First, a fair forcer, wherein are these: a shrine, with sir nisr'JJfP^J^^Ji ," -a' gin 
morse ; a tin cross ; a shrine with griffons ; two cloths of Arras ; an alb, with 
arms of the King of England ; a stole and fanun ; a shrine, with arms of the 
King of Scotland ; a gilt crozier which was the Bishop of Ross's ; a nut, with 
foot and silver-gilt cover, mounted ; a crystal cup with a gilt foot ; a cup all 
crystal, silver-mounted ; three ivory horns, decorated with silk and silver ; a 
bugle-horn ; two small drinking-cups " de Tammari," silver-mounted ; a small 
silver-gilt cup with a mazer foot ; a nut with silver-gilt foot, broken ; a crystal 
cup with silver-gilt foot, broken. 

■J » 

J* -r 


to obtain from the woods of Newbattle such timber 
as was required for the repair of the engines in 
Edinburgh Castle. 

Matters took on a different complexion after the 
death of the Great Plantagenet in 1307. Edward 
II., at continual strife with his barons, allowed the 
Scottish war to languish, and strength after strength 
passed into possession of Robert the Bruce, the 
English garrisons having been left with neither hay 
nor provender.^ Howbeit, in the spring of 1314, the 
memorable year of Bannockburn, Edinburgh Castle 
was still holding out, though closely beleaguered by 
King Robert's nephew, Thomas Randolph, Earl of 
Moray. Barbour states that the English garrison, 
suspecting the constable, Sir Piers de Lubaud, a 
Gascon, of negotiating with the Scots, disarmed and 
imprisoned him. Randolph having heard that James 
Douglas had taken Roxburgh Castle by clever 
stratagem, bethought him whether he could not 
undertake something of the sort in Edinburgh, for 
Randolph and Douglas ever were generous rivals 
in feats of chivalry. 

There came to Randolph privily a certain French- 
man named William, who told him that in his youth 
he had been quartered in the castle and had found 
out a means of visiting his sweetheart in the town by 

1 In March 1312 Sir Piers de Lubaud, who had succeeded 
Kingston as constable of the castle and sheriff of the county of 
Edinburgh, pressed for money to settle £1456 arrears of pay due to 
his garrison. King Edward having no cash in hand, assigned to 
him the customs of wool and hides at St Botolphs. 


night after the castle gates were closed. He showed 
Randolph a cleft in the north side of the rock up 
which he undertook to lead a party, with a rope- 
ladder to enable them to scale the wall.^ 

Barbour makes the exploit the theme of some of 
the most stirring stanzas in his great epic. Writing 
half a century after the event, he may well have 
embroidered his narrative with a few unauthentic 
details ; still, after making all allowance for his flights 
of fancy, the adventure was romantic in itself, and 
the main facts have never been called in question.^ 
One need but view the stupendous precipice in day- 
light to realise the danger of attempting to scale it, 
even with friendly assistance from the ramparts 
above ; to undertake it by night, with the enemy's 
sentries on the alert, might well have been deemed 
suicidal folly ; yet that was the task from which 
Randolph and his forlorn hope did not recoil. 
Barbour does not mention a feint attack which was 
delivered on the east side of the fortress to divert 
attention from the escalade ; but we learn from other 
sources that this was an important feature in the 

^ In the Tales oj a Grandfather Sir Walter Scott describes the 
ascent as being made from the south side, because he assumed that 
French William's sweetheart — "ane wench here in the toun" — 
lived in the Grassmarket ; but as there were then no houses where 
the Grassmarket now stands, William would be as near the town on 
the eastern ridge if he descended on the north side as if he went 
down on the south side. Mr Eric Stair Kerr has concluded for the 
north side, after carefully examining the evidence (see Proceed- 
ings of the Society of Scottish Antiquaries^ vol. xlvii. pp. 423-426). 


On a dark and windy night the scaHng party as- 
sembled at the foot of the rock. French William led 
the way in the perilous ascent ; next him climbed Sir 
Andrew Gray, Randolph going third, with thirty 
picked men behind him. Half-way up, the little 
band halted, listening to the "chak wachys" or 
reliefs being posted above them. Resuming the 
ascent, they had an anxious moment when a sentry 

on the wall 

swappyt doun a stane 
And said — Away ! I se you weile. 

However, the sentry probably suspected nothing, the 
stone flew harmless over their heads ; presently they 
reached the foot of the wall and flung the hooks of 
their rope-ladder over it. By this time the feint 
attack must have occupied all the attention of the 
garrison, for before the alarm was raised in this new 
quarter, most of Randolph's party had gained entrance, 
and the place was soon in their possession. Barbour 
says the garrison was put to the sword,^ but that the 
imprisoned constable. Sir Piers Lubaud, was released 
and entered the Scottish service. As for the Castle 
itself, it was dismantled and razed in accordance with 
the standing orders of King Robert, who had no 
faith in stone walls for defence, but, as a true guerrilla 
chief, loved better "to hear the lark sing than the 

^ In accordance with the custom of war in the case of a place 
that had been summoned and refused to surrender — a custom 
which was recognised as lawful as late as the beginning of the 
nineteenth century. 


mouse squeak." Queen Margaret's Chapel was the 
only building left standing on the rock. 

Thereafter both town and castle of Edinburgh 
disappear from the annals of war for twenty years. 
The town, indeed, was still of insignificant size, 
probably with no more than two or three thousand 
inhabitants dwelling under roofs thatched with reeds, 
and the Castle was no longer there to give it shelter. 
Indeed, the royal burgh of the Canongate, with 
its population of clerics, was the more important 
place of the two. It is true that Edward II. halted 
his army at or near Edinburgh on the night of 21st 
June 1314, when on his march to meet his fate at 
Bannockburn ; but it was no doubt the port of Leith, 
so convenient for landing supplies, that made him 
choose that camping ground. Not until 1335 did the 
steep and narrow " wynds " resound again to the clash 
of arms. In July that year Edward III. invaded 
Scotland with a great force in support of Edward 
Baliol. Guy, Count of Namur, landed at Berwick 
with some squadrons of Walloon lances, and was 
marching to join the English army at Perth, when 
he was overtaken by Regent Moray and the Earl of 
March on the Borough Muir, now included in the 
south side of the city of Edinburgh. The foreigners 
fought gallantly, but when the Scots were reinforced 
by fresh troops under Sir Alexander Ramsay of 
Dalwolsey (Dalhousie) and Sir William Douglas of 
Liddesdaill — " the Flower of Chivalry " — they broke 
and fled to the ruins of the Castle. There, it is said. 


they slaughtered their horses to form a rampart, and 
held out till next day, when the pinch of hunger 
caused them to surrender. 

Howbeit, in September of the same year, Edin- 
burgh was occupied by the English and the Castle 
was being repaired under Sir Thomas Roscelin 
(Rosslyn), probably a Baliolite Scottish knight. On 
2nd November Roscelin was relieved as warden by 
Sir John de Strivelyn (Stirling), who reported that 
there was no dwelling (habitacoun) within the said 
castle, except a little chapel partly unroofed {a poy 
descouerte), sl little pentice above the chapel, and a 
stable three parts unroofed. The garrison consisted 
of 8 knights, 60 men-at-arms, and 60 Yorkshire 
archers. By March 1337 the work of restoration was 
complete, the total cost amounting to £454, 14s. 6|d., 
equal to about £6000 or £7000 at the present day. 

It is briefly noted in the English Exchequer Rolls 
that on 16th April 1341 Edinburgh Castle was 
surrendered to the Scots, the garrison consisting of 
49 men-at-arms, 6 watchmen, and 60 mounted archers ; 
but no reference is made therein to the clever 
stratagem described by Wyntoun as having brought 
about its fall. 

A priest named William Bullock, who was 

chamberlain to Edward Baliol and governor of 

Cupar, sold his trust to Sir William Douglas 

of Liddesdaill, to whom he delivered the castle of 

Cupar, and unfolded a scheme for the recovery of 

Edinburgh Castle. Walter Curry, a Dundee trader, 



having placed his ship at their disposal, shaved him- 
self and his crew in the English manner, took on 
board Douglas, Bullock, and a strong detachment 
of picked men, and sailed for Inverkeithing, where 
he cast anchor. Curry then waited upon Sir Thomas 
de Rokeby, governor of Edinburgh Castle, represent- 
ing himself as the captain of an English merchantman, 
laden with wine and victual which he was ready to 
dispose of. He asked the governor to accept the 
present of a sample cask which he would bring to 
the Castle next morning. This having been agreed 
to, Curry returned on board ; and at night Douglas 
and his party landed and went into ambush some- 
where near the Castle. At daylight Curry and a 
dozen bold fellows, with rough frocks over their 
armour and stout staves in their hands, led two 
horses to the castle-gate, one carrying a pair of 
coal-creels, well covered up, the other laden with 
two barrels filled with water, representing casks of 
wine. The porter, having received orders to admit 
the party, opened the gate and was instantly felled. 
Curry set a pole under the portcullis, jamming it ; his 
men threw down the coal-creels and barrels to block 
the passage ; a blast on a horn brought Douglas and 
his party upon the scene ; the garrison was over- 
powered and the Maiden Castle was once more in 
the hands of the Scots. 

Wyntoun's narrative receives confirmation in its 
main facts from entries in the Scottish Exchequer 
Rolls, recording payment of various sums to Curry 



and others in reward pro adquisicione castri de 
Edinburgo — for the capture of Edinburgh Castle. 
Douglas was appointed warden of the said Castle, 
with a salary of 100 marks per annum ; but the 
post being ill-suited to his restless, daring spirit, in 
the following year he obtained the appointment for 
his bastard elder brother, mentioned in Faedera as 
Willelmus Douglas Veisne, a prisoner at Durham 
in 1346. Bullock was received into high favour by 
the regent, Sir Andrew Moray, who appointed him 
Chamberlain ; but he soon incurred suspicion of 
being in treasonable correspondence with the English 
Government (treachery wherewith there is too much 
cause to include the knight of Liddesdaill) ; he 
was arrested and thrust into a cell in Lochindorb 
Castle, where he was allowed to die of hunger. 

Once again Edinburgh disappears from the page 
of history for the space of fifteen years. Edward 
III.'s invasion in 1355 was remembered by coming 
generations as "the Burnt Candlemas," so hideous 
was the havoc he wrought in Lothian and the Merse. 
The flames which consumed the beauteous church 
of Haddington — "the Lamp of Lothian" — may 
have been descried from the ramparts of Edinburgh ; 
but that town and the abbey of Holyrood escaped 
damage on this occasion. 

In 1357 the regent, Robert Stewart (afterwards 
Robert II.), held a Parliament in Edinburgh to arrange 
for payment of the ransom of David II., who had been 
for eleven years a prisoner in England. After his 


release the king made Edinburgh his principal resi- 
dence, and large sums were spent upon the Castle. 
The garrison had relied in former years on a well 
within the fortress for their water supply, but that 
had got buried in one of the numerous sieges and 
could not be found again. The Scottish Chamber- 
lain's Accounts for 1361 include the payment of £120 
for constructing a new well, which still remains at the 
foot of the north side of the Castle Rock, where the 
existing ruins of the Wellhouse Tower represent the 
turris fontis, for building which and connecting it 
by a covered way with the Castle, Robert Hog, 
an Edinburgh burgess, received £80.^ In 1367 was 
begun a massive and lofty keep, built on the site 
now occupied by the Half- Moon Battery. For two 
hundred years ** Davy's Tower " remained the most 

conspicuous feature in the group of buildings on the 
Castle rock, until it was destroyed during the siege 
of 1573.'- 

The Bruce dynasty ended with the death of David 
II. in Edinburgh Castle on 22nd February 1371, hav- 
ing lasted only sixty-five years. Brief as that dynasty 
was, it was also the most momentous in the history 
of Scotland, for it had witnessed the restoration of 
her independence, never again to be wrested from a 

^ In 1381, when war was renewed with England, Robert II. 
caused diligent and prolonged search to be made for the old well, 
which was at last found, cleansed, and repaired. 

2 A full account of the discovery in 1912 of considerable remains 
of this tower is given in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries 
of Scotland, vol. xlviii. pp. 230-270. 



resolute and warlike people. Yet, in many respects, 
the realm to which Robert II., first king of the 
house of Stewart, succeeded was in worse case than 
when the boy David ascended the throne. David 
found the country strong and prosperous ; he left it 
firm, indeed, in its independence, but woefully im- 
poverished as the result of his own headstrong policy 
and the grievous burden of his ransom. The coinage 
had been seriously debased ; the same weight of metal 
which in Robert I.'s reign produced 26s. 4d. was 
coined in 1367 into 29s. 3d., marking the beginning 
of a process of depreciation which in 1423 caused the 
English Parliament to prohibit the Scottish currency 
as legal tender in England, and ultimately went to 
such lengths that, at the Union in 1707, the Scottish 
pound was only equivalent to one-twelfth of the 
pound sterling. 

Howbeit, despite this disadvantage, the constitution 
of the Scottish burghs, as founded by the first David, 
had been steadily developing itself under the second 
David, and Edinburgh shared in the general advance 
in administration of justice, regulation of commerce 
and markets, and provision for defence. In common 
with other royal burghs, it returned representatives 
to Parliament, though the manner of choosing 
these representatives is not clear. They formed the 
third estate in the council of the nation, sitting 
together with the clergy and the barons. It was 
in the Parliament of 1357 that Edinburgh appears 
first in precedence over the other burghs — a Parlia- 


ment called for the special purpose of providing 
100,000 marks for the ransom of David II., a pro- 
digious sum according to values in the fourteenth 
century. Edinburgh was represented by three of 
her burgesses, namely, Alexander Gyliot, Adam 
Tore, and John Goldsmith, who affixed the seal 
of the burgh in token of obligation for its share 
in the levy. 

Thrifty and rude as was the scale of living among 
all King David's subjects except the great barons, 
humble to the verge of squalor as were their homes, 
yet the representation in Parliament of these burghs 
— a few crowded rows of thatched houses clustering 
in the lee of some feudal fortress — was the guarantee 
of constitutional liberty. The rights of the citizen 
were expressed more boldly than had yet been done 
in England — witness the Act passed in 1369, whereby 
it was decreed "that no justiciar, sheriff, or other 
officer of the king execute any mandate addressed 
to him under whatsoever seal, great or privy seal, 
small seal or signet, in prejudice of any party, if it 
be contrary to the statutes or the common form of 
law ; and if any such [illegal] mandate be presented 
to him, he shall indorse it and return it forthwith 
so indorsed." In the troubled years to come, private 
rights and public justice were to be often brushed 
aside, public justice to be outraged or suborned ; but 
the sound seed had been sown, to lie dormant, indeed, 
or nearly so, through the long winter of discontent 
and lawlessness, but to spring forth and bear fruit 


abundantly when the sun of freedom once more 
shone upon the land. 

The accession of Robert II. in 1371 bore import- 
antly upon the subsequent standing of Edinburgh in 
relation to the other burghs of Scotland. It is in 
his reign that the office of Provost is first mentioned, 
John de Quhitness holding that dignity in 1377. Of 
the four towns originally constituting the Curia 
quatuoi^ Bur^gorum, or Council of the Four Burghs, 
Berwick and Roxburgh were still held by the English, 
to whom they had been surrendered by Edward 
Baliol. There remained only Edinburgh and Stirling, 
to which were added Linlithgow and Lanark in place 
of the lost towns ; and it was in Edinburgh that King 
Robert held his court, when he did hold one. But, 
being more frail in mind and body than his five-and- 
fifty years would seem to warrant, he left the affairs 
of governance chiefly to his son, the Earl of Carrick 
(afterwards Robert III.), and was wont to betake 
himself for repose to the tranquil atmosphere of 
Rothesay in the Isle of Bute. Carrick, however, 
found Edinburgh a more suitable centre, both poli- 
tically and strategically ; thenceforward, although 
Scotland was still to remain for many years without 
a titular and official metropolis, Edinburgh received 
virtual acknowledgment as the most important city 
of the realm. Thither came John of Gaunt, Duke 
of Lancaster and brother of the Black Prince, in 
1381, nominally as King Richard's plenipotentiary to 
negotiate a peace, but actually to seek shelter from 


the storm that had risen against him in England in 
the shape of Wat Tyler's riots. The Earl of Carrick 
received him with royal honours, bidding the Earl of 
Douglas and Archibald Douglas "the Grim," Lord 
of Galloway, to ride out with a splendid retinue to 
meet the duke at Haddington and escort him to 
Holyrood Abbey, where he remained for a consider- 
able time as the guest of the nation/ 

Two years later, on 20th August 1383, King 
Robert in person received in Edinburgh Castle the 
ambassador of Charles VI., and set his seal to a 
renewal of the alliance, offensive and defensive, with 
France. The truce with England was due to end at 
Michaelmas, and, although it was prolonged till 
February 1384, it was of so precarious a nature that 
the Earl of Carrick was acting no more than pru- 
dently in having the Castle put in a state of defence. 
The wages of engineers, gunners, armourers, masons, 
etc., bulk largely in the accounts of those years. 
Dederic the carpenter, having constructed a huge 
engine — magna machina, — was required to discharge 
three trial shots from it to the satisfaction of Adam 
Forester before receiving payment of £20, just 
double the annual salary of the chaplain. £4 was 
paid pro uno instrumento dicto gun — for an instru- 
ment called a gun ; sulphur and saltpetre taken into 
the Castle doubtless being intended for making 

1 The Scottish Chamberlain's Accounts for 1381 contain a charge 
of £597, 14s. 9d. for the Earl of Carrick's expenses in entertaining 
the Duke of Lancaster. 


powder for use in the said " instrument " — a hazard- 
ous form of industry, one should say. 

The event proved that these precautionary measures 
were no more than was needful. The truce was to 
expire on 4th February 1384; on 26th January a 
truce for eight months was arranged between Eng- 
land and France, when it was stipulated that Scotland, 
as the ally of France, should have the option of 
being included therein. Charles VI. despatched 
envoys to announce this to the King of Scots, but 
the English Government resolved to inflict a blow 
upon the northern realm before these envoys could 
arrive in Edinburgh. Indeed, to judge from the 
date of the safe-conduct which they received from 
King Richard — 13th February — their departure was 
purposely delayed, and, in effect, they did not reach 
Edinburgh till the middle of April. 

Another party from France arrived in Edinburgh 
about the same time, namely, thirty French knights 
and esquires who landed at Montrose and placed 
their lances at the disposal of the King of Scots. 
King Robert, douce man, was well known to have 
no stomach for deeds of arms, so Douglas and Moray 
took matters into their own hands without consulting 
him. They held a meeting in St Giles's Church ^ and 
planned a raid over the Border, which was carried 

1 Not the existing building, but its fine Norman predecessor, 
whereof the last feature disappeared when the richly carved door- 
way, dating from the twelfth century, was barbarously demolished 
in the latter half of the eighteenth century. 


out with spirit, to the supreme gratification of the 
French chevaliers. 

Meanwhile John of Gaunt had been sent upon an 
expedition with orders to inflict the utmost damage 
in his power upon the Scots before they should receive 
the message from the King of France. He marched 
to Edinburgh, and, according to Wyntoun, only re- 
frained from burning the town on condition of the 
citizens paying an indemnity. He is credited with 
having purposely refrained from doing much injury 
to the nation whose guest he had so lately been ; 
and this appears more clearly in the following year 
when Lancaster accompanied King Richard in his 
destructive invasion. 

Before that took place Sir Jehan de Vienne, 
Admiral of France, landed at Leith early in the 
summer of 1385 with 2000 knights, esquires, and men- 
at-arms, to join the Scots nobles in an invasion of 
England. Froissart describes how bitterly the French 
knights complained of the beggarly character of their 
reception and of the miserable lodging provided for 

The Lords and their men lodged themselves as well as they 
could in Edinburgh and ... in the villages round about. 
Edinburgh, notwithstanding that it is the residence of the king, 
and is the Paris of Scotland, is not such a town as Tournay or 
Valenciennes, for there are not in the whole town four hundred 
houses.^ . . . When these barons and knights of France, who 
had been used to handsome houses, ornamented chambers, and 

^ Some readings render this four thousand, but the lower figure 
is probably nearer the truth. 


castles with good soft beds to repose on, saw themselves in such 
poverty, they began to laugh, and to say to the admiral : " What 
on earth did we come here for ? " ^ 

The French brought with them fourteen hundred 
suits of armour and a large sum of money to stimulate 
the ardour of the Scottish barons, but their reception 
was distinctly discouraging. King Robert was absent 
in the Highlands. *' At last," writes Froissart, " he 
arrived, with red, bleared eyes of the colour of sendal^ 
clearly no valiant man in arms, preferring to lie still 
rather than ride." However, he received his allies 
courteously enough, issued summons to muster an 
army, consisting, says Froissart, of 30,000 mounted 
men, and sent the expedition on its way. The 
result was not very felicitous, though the allies wasted 
the country in the most approved style as far as 
York. But King Richard's counter-stroke was ter- 
rible. The strength of mediaeval armies, as stated by 
contemporary chroniclers, must always be accepted 
under reserve, and the estimate of 7000 men-at- 
arms and 60,000 archers is probably far beyond the 
actual numbers with which he crossed the Border. 
But Richard's array was formidable enough to cause 
the Scoto-French column to fall rapidly back before 
him. He gutted the abbeys of Melrose, Dryburgh, 
and Newbattle ; he wasted the Merse and Lothians ; 
he burnt the town of Edinburgh and St Giles's 

^ Froissart's Chronicles^ book ii. chap. 35. 

2 " Bois rouge des Indes : sorte d'etoffe et de linge" (Roquefort's 


Cathedral, sparing only Holyrood Abbey at the 
intercession of Lancaster, who bore in kindly 
remembrance the hospitality he had received there 
when his own star was under a cloud. 

©ft (BtimhuxQ\} ti)e hix'k ibrgnt ti^af, 

^ntJ toati fjabe t(tone gtoa tj}at abiag [Holyrood], 

Bot t\)t IBuk for l^is cxirtagg 

(%ne |)e JatJe qlnljgluiu tljare fjerbrg, 

d^ufjm ]^e tneg otote ofC Jia cuntre) 

C^ert it at tj^at tgrne gatoffgti fae.^ 

The remaining years of King Robert's reign present 
a record of truces made, lapsed or broken, and re- 
newed, alternating with periods of fierce guerrilla on 
the Borders (Otterburn was fought through the star- 
lit night of 15th August 1388).' At his death in 
1390, John, Earl of Carrick, was crowned at Scone 
with the throne-name of Robert III., the name John 
being deemed to have sinister association with the 
house of Baliol. But whereas the new king had been 
permanently crippled by the kick of a horse, so that 
he could not ride (and a king that could not ride 
through his realm could not aspire to rule it), his 
next brother Robert, Earl of Fife, was appointed 
regent. Relations with England were kept on a 

fairly amicable footing until Richard II. was deposed 


1 Wyntoun's Cronykil^ 1. ix. c. 7. 

2 The lines in the ballad of Otterburn — 

The moon was clear, the day drew near. 
The spears in flinders flew — 

are not to be reconciled literally with the fact that the moon only 
entered her first quarter on 25th August 1388. 


in 1399, English and Scottish knights keeping 
their hands in by frequent international tourna- 
ments. At one of these held in Edinburgh the 
heir-apparent, first to receive ducal rank in Scotland 
as Duke of Rothesay, was the most conspicuous 

These satisfactory conditions underwent a change 
for the worse after the revolution which landed Henry 
IV. on the throne of England in 1399. He, indeed, 
had no desire to renew the war, having plenty to do 
in maintaining civil peace in his own dominions ; but, 
unfortunately, the feather-brained Duke of Rothesay 
was invested with the regency in place of his uncle 
Albany.^ He was betrothed to the daughter of the 
powerful Earl of March: he threw her over and 
married a daughter of the equally powerful Earl of 
Douglas, whereupon March transferred his allegiance 
to King Henry. March's estates having been seized 
by Douglas, " Hotspur " Percy and March invaded 
Scotland early in the summer of 1400, King Henry 
following in person somewhat later with a strong 
army. Henry marched straight to Edinburgh, with- 
out the usual amount of pillage and burning on 
the way, and besieged Rothesay in the Castle. 
He declined Rothesay's chivalrous challenge, "for 
the sparing of Christian blood," to put the quarrel 
to an issue between one, two, or three hundred 
gentlemen of coat-armour on either side. So the 
siege went on, until King Henry, who had in- 

1 The Earl of Fife had been created Duke of Albany. 


structed the dukes, earls, and other nobles of Scot- 
land to bring their king to do homage to him in 
Edinburgh Castle on 23rd August, was forced to 
raise the siege in September and march with all 
speed home again to deal with the rebellion of 
Owen Glendower. 


James I. was a captive in England when he suc- 
ceeded his father Robert III. in 1406 ; nor did he 
regain his liberty till 1424, his ransom being fixed 
at 60,000 marks (£40,000), payable in six yearly 
instalments,^ the last of which was to be remitted 
as representing the dowry of his Queen, Joan of 
Beaufort. Although this money, less 9000 marks 
surrendered in cash, remains unpaid to this day, 
the manner in which it was decreed that it should 
be assessed throws some light upon the relation to 
which Edinburgh had attained among the burghs 
of Scotland, and also upon the growing importance 
of these burghs as the third estate. 

First, then, two-fifths of the burden was laid upon 
the burghs of Edinburgh, Perth, Dundee, and 
Aberdeen, showing that Edinburgh was the only 
one of the original Quatuor Burgi — four chief 
burghs of Scotland — retaining first-class importance, 
Roxburgh having suffered severely in the Border 
war, and Berwick having passed into possession of 
the English. 

1 The mark, or, as it was written in Scots, the merk, was not 
a coin but a money of account, equal to 13s. 4d. 



Second : in the middle of the fourteenth century, 
when it was a question of raising David II. 's ransom, 
the burghs were only assessed for one-fifth of the 
special taxation, against one-half paid by the barons 
and three-tenths by the clergy. The burghs now 
undertook, or were made to undertake, two-fifths 
as against three-fifths payable by the others, which 
may be acccepted as evidence of increased wealth. 
Commerce, no doubt, had increased ; more merchan- 
dise was handled in the towns, which depended for 
a principal part of their revenues upon the pa?'va 
costuma they were entitled to levy upon goods 
coming in and, by an inverted kind of protection, 
upon goods — chiefly wool and hides — exported. 
But a sinister influence intervened to rob the muni- 
cipalities of much of the profit they were entitled 
to derive from brisker trade. During the regencies 
of Albany and his son Murdoch, the greater barons 
had acquired power, which some of them, at least, 
exercised in a selfish and arbitrary manner. Men 
in such responsible positions as Archibald, fourth Earl 
of Douglas and keeper of Edinburgh Castle, his 
brother James (afterwards seventh Earl), Walter of 
Haliburton, brother of the Duchess of Rothesay, 
and Sir William de Borthwick, captain of Edinburgh 
Castle, all salaried officials, did not scruple to de- 
fraud both the national and burghal revenues by 
shipping wool and hides duty free. Not only so, 
but they frequently laid hands upon the money 
already collected by the "custumars." The heir- 


apparent, the Duke of Rothesay, had set this evil 
example as early as the year 1402, the custumar of 
Dundee reporting to the Chamberlain that the 
duke had taken £71, 4s. 9d. from him by force.^ 
He also plundered the customs at Linlithgow and 
Montrose in the same year, the last of his life. In 
subsequent years this system of pillage became the 
rule, rather than the exception. The Chamberlain's 
Accounts positively teem with complaints against 
high dignitaries. Two examples out of a multitude 
may be given. In May 1409 it was reported to 
the Chamberlain that the Earl of Douglas and Sir 
William Crauford not only had shipped twenty-three 
sacks of wool duty free in defiance of the custumars 
of Edinburgh, but, under compulsitor of imprison- 
ment in the Castle, had extorted from the said 
custumars duties already collected to the amount 
of £708, 2s. Id. The auditors reported this to 
Regent Albany, who stood far too much in dread 
of Douglas to do more than to beg him to abstain 
from such proceedings in future. So little heed did 
Douglas give to this admonition that in 1413 he 
refused to pay the duty on the wool he exported, 
estimated at £69, 6s. 8d., and, besides, seized the 
whole balance in the hands of the Edinburgh 
custumars, amounting to £634, 10s. lid. Next 
year he took by violence £1339, 5s. 9d. ; in 1415 
his plunder was £1254, 4s. 2^d., and so on. 

1 " Quod dominus dux de Rothesay e cepit praedictam pecuniam 
ab eo violenter " (Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, 1402). 



Now, considering that the gross custom of Edin- 
burgh in 1416 was only £2047, and that, owing 
to many greater and lesser barons adopting the 
precedent set by Douglas in refusing to pay ex- 
port duties, it fell to £1336, 5s. in 1417 and to 
£1098, 5s. 4d. in 1418, and that Douglas continued 
to seize a large part in each year, it is evident that, 
although the volume of trade increased year by 
year in Edinburgh, the municipality was sinking 
into poverty and drifting towards insolvency. 

King James, undoubtedly the ablest of the Stewart 
dynasty, had been admirably educated in England ; 
the late George Burnett paid him no more than his 
due in saying that he "returned home a scholar, a 
poet, and an artist, and skilled in every knightly 
accomplishment." But he was far more than a 
dilettante ; he had a lofty conception of the kingly 
office ; he found his realm rent with family feuds, 
seamed with corruption, sinking into bankruptcy, and 
he determined to redeem it. "If God," said he, 
"gives me but a dog's life, I'll make the key keep 
the castle and the bracken-bush keep the cow through 
all Scotland." Those who have blamed him for 
employing force and guile to put an end to private 
violence and public treachery have omitted to indicate 
what better means were at his hand.^ 

James wasted no time in preliminaries. After 

^ Except Andrew Lang. "James was acting in a hurry. A 
wise policy might have divided the nobles and attracted a strong 
party to the Crown" (^Histori/ of Scotland, i. 303). 


keeping Easter (20th April 1424) in Edinburgh, he 
caused Walter Stewart, eldest son of Duke Murdoch 
of Albany, to be arrested and imprisoned in the Bass 
(13th May). He then went to Scone to be crowned, 
where his cousin Albany exercised his hereditary 
right as Earl of Fife by placing him on the throne 
(21st May). Next, the king held his first Parliament 
at Perth (26th May), where his reforming hand may 
be recognised in an Act, among others, prohibiting 
the game of foot- ball by reason of its interfering 
with the training of young men for the defence of 
the realm. ^ 

Albany might have taken alarm, but did not ; and 
in March 1425 he, also, was arrested, and, together 
with his two sons Walter and Alexander, and the 
aged I^ennox, suffered death on the Heading Hill of 
Stirling. The king's motive in this sanguinary busi- 
ness remains obscure, but the fair inference is that he 
had obtained knowledge of a formidable conspiracy 
brewing in the Albany branch of the royal house. 
Unfortunately, a less worthy construction has been 
put upon this coup d'etat in consequence of James 
having forfeited and kept in his own possession the 
vast estates of the decapitated lords. 

A note in the Chamberlain's Accounts for the year 
1426 relates to the last instance of judicial ordeal 

1 " It is statute, and the King forbiddis, that na man play at the 
fute-ball vnder the paine of fiftie schillings to be raised to the Lord 
of the land, als oft as he be tainted, or to the Schireffe of the land 
or his Ministers, gif the Lord will not punish sik trespassouris.'* 


by battle. A certain tailor of low degree (plebeius 
scissor) having complained to King James that he 
had been slandered by an esquire named Henry 
Knokkis (Knox), and Knokkis having denied the 
charge and accused the tailor of treason, the king 
commanded them to fight it out in Edinburgh Castle, 
and that 20s. should be expended in boarding the 
tailor a7ite duellum. The combatants met and set to ; 
but whether the tailor did not put up a good fight 
or the king's conscience pricked him, as an earnest 
reformer, at allowing the revival of a barbarous 
custom, does not appear ; anyhow, he stopped the 
combat before much blood flowed. 

King James made Holyrood Abbey his favourite 
and most constant residence. Here was enacted a 
grim scene in 1 429, when Alastair, rebel Lord of the 
Isles, suddenly appeared before the king and queen 
as they were attending mass in the Abbey Church on 
the eve of St Augustine (26th May). He was clad, 
says the chronicler Bower, only in his shirt and 
drawers ; ^ holding a naked sword by the point, he 
knelt before his sovereign and craved pardon. His 
life was spared ; but he was imprisoned in Tantallon 
Castle, one of the strongholds built by the ill-fated 

Of brighter augury was an event in the following 
year : 

1 "Unless his romantic national costume was mistaken by the 
Lowland Bower for these garments " (Lang's History of Scotland, 
i. 305). 


" In the year 1430,"" writes the Pluscardin chronicler, " there 
were born unto the king two male twins . . . whereat all 
people rejoiced with exceeding gladness throughout the realm ; 
and because they were born in the monastery of Holyrood, 
bonfires [igjies jucunditatis] were lighted, flagons of wine and 
free meals were offered to all comers, while the most delectable 
harmony of musical instruments proclaimed all night long the 
praise and glory of God.*" ^ 

In 1435 iEneas Sylvius (afterwards Pope Pius II.) 
arrived on a secret mission to the court of King 
James.^ It was midwinter ; he afterwards described 
the sun as being above the horizon little more than 
three hours, and the king as being " robust of person 
and oppressed by excessive corpulence." He is pro- 
vokingly silent about what he saw in his travels ; 
almost the only notes he made about Edinburgh 
being that it had no walls, and that he saw " the 
poor, almost naked, begging at the church doors, 
depart with joy in their faces on receiving stones 
as alms. This stone," he continues, ** whether by 
reason of sulphurous or some fatter matter, is 
burned instead of wood, whereof this country is 

The reform of abuses is always an undertaking 
attended by risk to the reformer, and James had in- 

1 Liber Pluscardensis, xi. 5. 

2 In his writings iEneas makes conflicting statements as to the 
object of his mission. In the first he describes it as an endeavour 
to effect reconciliation between the king and a certain bishop ; in 
the other he says that he was instructed to urge the king to make 
war upon England. 

3 Coal had been worked in Scotland long before this date, the 
earliest mention of this industry being in a charter dated 1291. 


curred enough resentment to encourage his uncle, the 
Earl of Atholl, to conspire against him ; for, if the 
children of Robert II. by Elizabeth Mure were in- 
deed illegitimate, as many lawyers held, then was 
Atholl rightful King of Scots. Consequently, on 
21st February 1437, Atholl, his grandson Sir Robert 
Stewart, Sir Robert Graham, and others beset the 
king in the Dominican monastery of Perth and did 
him to death in the presence of Queen Joan. It 
might have fared better thereafter with the assassins 
had they killed her also, for she was a woman of high 
spirit and rested not till the whole band were cap- 
tured and brought to justice. Horrible was their 
doom ; new and elaborate tortures were devised as 
preliminary to decapitation. Robert Stewart and 
his accomplice Christopher Chalmer were dragged 
through the High Street of Edinburgh, bound to the 
Market Cross, tormented in ways unspeakable, and 
finally beheaded. Atholl, the murderer of his nephew 
and sovereign, whose claim to the throne was the 
motive of his crime, was tied to a post and derisively 
crowned with paper before his head was struck off, 
the said head being afterwards encircled with an iron 
crown and stuck on a spear. 

James I. was buried in the Carthusian monastery 
of Perth, in place of the ordinary royal place of 
sepulture, Dunfermline ; and his son, a boy of six 
years old, was crowned on 25th March 1437 in the 
Abbey Church of Holyrood, an innovation resorted 
to because of the dangerous proximity of Scone to 


the Highlands.^ This is remarkable as being the only 
coronation that has ever been performed in the Scot- 
tish capital (for so, from this date forward, Edinburgh 
may be termed), except that of Charles I. in 1633, 
eight years after his accession. The king had a red 
birthmark on his cheek ; it was an age of frank 
speech, wherefore he became distinguished among 
others of his name and line as " James of the Fiery 
Face." An anonymous diarist of the time has the 
following note of the event : 

1436 wes the coronacioun of King James the secund with 
the Red Scheik [cheek], callit James with the fyr in the face, 
he beand [being] hot sax yer aid and ane half, in the abbay of 
Halyrudhous, quhar his banys [bones] lyis.^ 

Queen Joan and the infant king sojourned in the 
Castle during the coronation festivities, which included 
a performance by a company of actors whom the late 
king, hardly more than a month dead, had brought 
over from Flanders. Archibald, fifth Earl of Douglas, 
the hero of Beauge, was Regent and Lieutenant- 
Governor, but he showed singular indifference to 

^ Little reliance is to be placed upon the Scottish historians of 
this period, who, writing in the sixteenth century, relied upon 
hearsay and tradition about events in the fifteenth century. Thus 
Pitscottie follows Boece in stating that James II. was crowned 
at Scone, and that Livingstone of Callendar was appointed 
Regent, and Sir William Crichton, Chancellor, both of which 
statements would have continued unchallenged but for the evidence 
of the Exchequer Rolls and Treasurer's Accounts. We now know 
that Archibald, fifth Earl of Douglas, was Regent, and Bishop 
Cameron of Glasgow was Chancellor until 1439, when Crichton 
succeeded him. 

2 Winton MS. 


public affairs, allowing them to be transacted by 
the leaders of the opposing factions — Sir William 
Crichton, whom the late king had made Sheriff of 
Edinburgh, Governor of the Castle, and Master of 
the Household, on the one hand, and Sir Alexander 
Livingstone of Callendar, whom Boece and Pitscottie 
erroneously describe as Regent, on the other. These 
two worthies, with their headquarters respectively in 
the castles of Edinburgh and Stirling, plotted and 
counterplotted against each other for the supreme 
object of possessing the boy-king's person. Each 
succeeded in kidnapping him more than once. 

When Regent Douglas died suddenly on 26th 
June 1439, Queen Joan, distracted by disappointment 
in the trust which she had placed alternately in 
Crichton and Livingstone, and having been robbed of 
her son, sought protection by marrying Sir James 
Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorn. Livingstone 
at once seized her person by force and imprisoned 
her in Stirling Castle, at the same time thrusting her 
husband and his brother into dungeons of the same 
fortress. Then, having besieged Crichton in Edin- 
burgh Castle, he induced or forced him to capitulate, 
and came to an agreement with him under which 
Crichton was to become Chancellor, and Livingstone 
guardian of the king till he should come of age. 
The Queen, under duresse, set her hand to an inden- 
ture ratifying the surrender of her son to Livingstone 
and three others, which seemed to put matters on 
an intelligible, if not altogether satisfactory, footing. 


Howbeit, Crichton soon discovered that the office of 
Chancellor was regarded as being inferior in import- 
ance to Guardian of the King ; he laid an ambush in 
the New Park at Stirling, into which the king rode 
as he went a-hunting, and once more James became 
a prisoner, more or less at large, in Edinburgh Castle. 
For how long, one cannot tell, for the bishops, as 
puissant in politics as the barons were in arms, 
managed to reconcile Livingstone and Crichton, 
Livingstone regaining custody of the king's person. 
Pitscottie professes, after the model of Tacitus and 
Barbour, to report verbatim long speeches which 
these two gentlemen made to each other, a proceeding 
which does not encourage implicit faith in other 
details of his narrative. This, however, is pretty- 
clear, that the only bond of union between the 
Chancellor and the Guardian was a common dread 
of a lad of mettle, aged fourteen years, who had 
succeeded as sixth Earl of Douglas and third Duke 
of Touraine to the enormous estates and formidable 
military resources of the late regent. Boece would 
have us believe that this stripling was chiefly re- 
sponsible for the disorders of the time. No doubt 
these were grievous. No regent had been appointed 
to succeed the dead Douglas ; the general anarchy 
was extraordinary even for Scotland under the 
Stewarts. Bitter complaints, says Pitscottie, "quhair- 
of the lyk was nevir seine a befoir," were laid before 
the ParHament of 2nd August 1440. " Thair was so 
many widowes, bairnes and infantis seiking redresse 


for thair husbandis, kin and friendis, and sicklyk 
many for hirschip [rapine], thift and murthir, that it 
wold have pitied any man to have hard the samyn." 

It is plainly impossible that William Earl of 
Douglas and his twin brother David, not having 
attained years of puberty, can have been guilty of 
the enormities imputed to them by Boece and his 
copyists, Pitscottie and Buchanan. The charge is 
preposterous, intended by Boece to gratify his patron 
James V. by blackening the memory of the disgraced 
house of Douglas. But it is far from unlikely that 
the young Earl of Douglas bore no goodwill towards 
the upstarts Crichton and Livingstone, who by 
their factional disputes had brought the government 
into contempt ; neither would he be at any pains to 
contradict the current rumour that pointed to himself, 
the great-grandson of Robert III., as the rightful 
guardian of the king. Anyhow, Chancellor Crichton 
and Guardian Livingstone, feeling that events might 
take a turn wherein their own heads would sit but 
lightly on their shoulders, determined to be before- 
hand with the noble whom they had most reason to 
fear. Warlike measures were not to be thought of — 
far too risky, for young Douglas by a nod could put 
5000 of his own men in the field, besides the forces of 
friends of his house. These two worthies, therefore, 
hatched against the young earl and his brother a plot 
which, for heartless treachery, stands out black and 
detestable even among the crimes of that distracted 
age. Crichton indited "pleasant writingis" to Douglas, 


bidding him bring his brother to the king's court and 
entreating their aid in the counsels of the kingdom. 
They accepted the invitation, riding to Edinburgh 
with their father's friend, Sir Malcolm Fleming of 
Cumbernauld, accompanied by a brilliant suite of 
knights and esquires.^ After being presented to 
King James, a boy of ten years, dinner was served in 
the Castle. Care had been taken, says Pitscottie, to 
lodge the earl's suite in the town ; but Sir Malcolm 
Fleming was of the party at table, at the head of 
which sat the king, who, it is said, was delighted to 
have the company of his young kinsmen. The last 
course having been removed, the attendants set down 
before the Earl of Douglas a bull's head.^ Instantly, 
armed men entered the room, Douglas, his brother, 
and Fleming were seized and bound, the terrified 
little king weeping sorely and begging the Chancellor 
to protect his new friends. The three prisoners were 
put to mock trial on the spot, the weeping king 
being kept as a screen to the actual assassins. 
William and James Douglas were then taken out 
to the Castle yard and beheaded ; Fleming, as a 
dangerous witness, suffering the same fate a few 
days later. 

^ Pitscottie says that Chancellor Crichton rode forth to meet 
Douglas, and persuaded him to turn aside to Crichton Castle, 
where he remained two days before going forward to Edinburgh. 

2 Sir Walter Scott has added the detail that it was a black bull's 
head. About the main facts of this tragedy there is no shadow 
of doubt, whatever degree of licence the early writers may have 
allowed themselves in accessory details. 


There is no evidence — direct or indirect — implicat- 
ing James the Gross, who succeeded his grand-nephew 
as seventh Earl of Douglas, as accessory to the crime ; 
but one cannot avoid a sinister suggestion from the 
fact that he had earned a reputation for violence by- 
waylaying and killing Sir David, father of Sir Malcolm 
Fleming (one of the Chancellor's victims), at Long- 
herd manston in 1405 ; that he profited through the 
death of his grand-nephews by succeeding to half the 
Douglas estates ; and lastly, that during the remainder 
of his life he never manifested the slightest resent- 
ment for the murder of his young kinsmen, still less 
made any effort to avenge them — '* a course of con- 
duct," as Professor Hume Brown has observed, 
" singularly alien at once to the spirit of the times 
and the tradition of the Douglas blood." Hume of 
Godscroft has preserved for us but one stanza of a 
ballad which he says was still current in his day — that 
is, one hundred and fifty years after the murder : 

" Edinburgh Castle, towne and tower, 
God grant thou sinke for sinne ; 
And that even for the black dinner 
Earle Douglas got therein." 

So long as James Douglas the Gross lived it 
appears that Crichton and Livingstone kept on out- 
wardly amicable terms ; but James did not Hve long, 
dying in 1443, to be succeeded by his son WiUiam 
as eighth Earl of Douglas. He was born about 
the same time as his slaughtered cousin, and was 
therefore probably eighteen when his father died. 


Livingstone was careful to ingratiate himself with 
this new star, presented him to King James, who 
was now thirteen years old, and promoted his 
marriage with Margaret, daughter of the fifth earl, 
better known as the Fair Maid of Galloway, in 
virtue of having succeeded to the lordship of Gallo- 
way and other of the Douglas possessions on the 
death of her father in 1439. The eighth earl, then, 
by this marriage became as powerful territorially as 
any of his predecessors and manifested every dis- 
position to use his power, no doubt at Livingstone's 
instigation, for the ruin of the Chancellor. In this 
he succeeded : Crichton was summoned to Stirling 
to answer a charge of high treason ; but he was 
too wary to go far from his lair in Edinburgh Castle, 
which he only quitted to make raids upon the 
Douglas lands. Crichton's estates were forfeited, 
his office of Chancellor was bestowed on Bishop 
Kennedy, and he himself was closely besieged in 
Edinburgh Castle for nine weeks. ^ 

Suddenly and with nightmare inconsequence the 
actors changed parts. Crichton, having made fast 
friends with his successor Chancellor Kennedy, sur- 
rendered the Castle on his own terms, and regained 
favour with the king, who raised him to the peerage 
and restored him to the chancellorship. Livingstone 
and his two sons were seized and thrust into prison 
in Blackness Castle, their lands confiscated, and in 

^ Pitscottie, who is as picturesque as he is untrustworthy, im- 
proves this into nine months. 


1450 the two sons perished on the scaffold. Crichton, 
on the other hand, remained supreme at court until 
that fatal supper party in Stirling Castle in 1452 
when King James stabbed the Earl of Douglas to 
death, under trust, in Crichton's presence. 

We must now get back to Edinburgh, whence we 
have been led astray in the train of the Douglas ; for, 
in dealing with public events in Scotland during the 
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it is impossible to 
steer clear of the meshes spread by the members of 
that great house. 

In the spring of 1448 the truce (which had endured 
longer than usual, though it had not been more 
scrupulously observed) was at an end, and the 
English burnt Dunbar and Dumfries. Three earls of 
the house of Douglas, namely Douglas, Angus, and 
Ormond, retaliated by burning Alnwick and Wark- 
worth, and in October Ormond and Wallace of 
Craigie routed a superior English force on the banks 
of the Sark. This renewal of war brought into relief 
the defenceless state of the capital. Edinburgh 
Castle, thanks to the diligence bestowed upon 
strengthening the natural advantages of its site, might 
be reckoned impregnable, save under stress of famine ; 
but the city, as it may now be termed, lay open on 
all sides save that next the Castle, and the burning by 
Richard II. in 1385 had not passed from memory as 
a disaster that might be re-enacted in any successful 
raid by the English. The Town Council, therefore, 
set to work to carry out an important scheme of 



defence. The plan was twofold. First, the valley on 
the north side of the castle and town, hitherto 
occupied by the king's gardens, as it is at the present 
day by those of the municipality and by the North 
British Railway, was inundated by a dam erected at 
the east end thereof, thus forming the Nor Loch. 
Next a wall was built starting from the south side of 
the Castle Rock near the West Bow, at that time 
the principal entrance to the city ; thence running 
east parallel with the High Street on the inner side 
of the hollow where now is the quarter named 
Cowgate, it turned sharply to the north, crossing the 
ridge at the Nether Bow and finishing off at the 
east end of the newly-formed Nor' Loch. In this 
important work may be traced the influence of 
Patrick Cockburn of Newbigging, who had been 
employed by the Government in connection with the 
fortification of Dalkeith Castle, and was from 1447 
onwards both Provost of the city and Constable of 
the Castle. Howbeit, the strength of the new works 
was not to be tested yet awhile by the English, who 
during the rest of James II.'s reign had their energies 
fully absorbed in the Wars of the Roses. 

Bleak and bloody as these distant years seem in 
the light thrown by the old chroniclers, it would be 
a grievous mistake to imagine that war and violence 
were the only outlets for energy — that no room was 
left for industry and idling. Trade pursued its 
accustomed course, chiefly with France and the 
Netherlands, as briskly as a steadily depreciating 



currency would allow; there was plenty of leisure 
for lilting and love-making, tilting and the chase. 
It is refreshing to lay aside the annals of plot and 
counterplot, and peruse the description of the king's 
wedding to Marie de Gueldres in 1449. "Thar 
cam with hir," says the anonymous chronicler of 
Auchinleck, " xiii gret schippis [to Leith] and ane 
craike [carrack], in the quhilk ther was the Lord 
Canfer ^ with xv score of men in harnes." The best 
account of the proceedings in the Castle and in 
Holyrood Abbey is to be found in the chronicle of 
the Frenchman Mahieu d'Escouchy. The wedding 
feast, says he, lasted four or five hours, "wine and 
other drinks being grudged as little as if they had 
been so much sea- water." A splendid tournament 
was held, which came near ending in general blood- 
shed. Three Scottish champions, to wit, the Master 
of Douglas,^ John Ross of Halkhead, and James 
Douglas, brother of the Laird of Lochleven, were 
pitted against three cavaliers of Burgundy, namely, 
Jacques de Lalain, Sir Simon de Lalain his uncle, and 
Herv^ Meriadec, Lord of Longueville. Meriadec 
felled his antagonist, the Master of Douglas, with 
two strokes of his axe. Douglas, recovering, attacked 
Meriadec again, which the king ruled to be out of 
order and flung his baton into the ring. Douglas's 
men, furious at the defeat of their young lord, broke 

1 Wolfaert, son and heir of the Count of Campvere, had married 
King James's sister Mary in 1444. 

2 Afterwards ninth and last Earl of Douglas. 


into the enclosure, the king summoned his guard to 
disperse them, and the entertainment broke up in 

Graver business than this awaited King James in 
the Parliament which met in Edinburgh on 19th 
January 1450. After the butchery of the Douglas 
twins in 1440, Crichton and Livingstone had re- 
sumed active and bitter rivalry. In 1443 Living- 
stone craftily alHed himself with James, Master of 
Douglas (afterwards ninth and last Earl of Douglas), a 
youth of eighteen, for whom King James, being then 
thirteen years of age, developed a strong affection ; 
and in November of that year Crichton was outlawed 
on a charge of high treason and deprived of the 
chancellorship. However, strongly ensconced in 
Edinburgh Castle, he set the king and the Living- 
stone party at defiance. Moreover, he won over 
Bishop Kennedy of St Andrews, who, in his support, 
" cursit solempnitlie with myter and staf and buke 
and candil, contynually a year."^ Post hoc, if not 
pr^opter hoc, Crichton was back in office as Chancellor 
before the end of 1445 ; Livingstone in his turn being 
in durance on a charge of treason. A few months 
later, behold Livingstone again at liberty, for which he 
had paid heavily in cash, and in 1449 he scored for the 
last time against his old rival by obtaining for himself 
the important and lucrative office of Lord Justiciar 
of Scotland. 

Yet must Crichton have had something up his 

^ Auchinleck Chronicle. 



sleeve against Livingstone, whose final downfall is 
told tersely by the anonymous and contemporary 
author of the Auchinleck MS. : 

The xix day of Januar [1449-50] James the secund held his 
first parliament in Edinburgh.^ In to the quhilk parliament thar 
was forfaltit [forfeited] schir Alexander Levistoun Lord Kalendar, 
and James Dundas of that ilk, and Robert Brus the lard of Clack- 
mannannis brother. And James of Levingstoan, son and air to 
the said Alexander, was put to deid [death], and Robyne of 
Levingstoun of Lithgu that tyme comptrollar was put to deid, 
baith togidder on the castell-hill, thair heidis strikin of, the 
thrid day of the parb'ament. 

As time went on the menace of English invasion 
loomed larger in proportion as the fortunes of the house 
of Lancaster waned. The Parliament of 1455 (the year 
after Crichton's death) made fresh arrangements for 
defence. The chain of bale-fires was regulated to pass 
from Tweedside through Dunbar, Haddington, and 
Dalkeith, besides intermediate stations, to Edinburgh 
Castle, thence through Stirling to the north. A single 
flare signified menace from an English army; two 
flares gave warning that it was advancing ; four flares 
meant that the enemy was in great strength. Nomin- 
ally there was truce with England, but that had been 
concluded with Henry VI. ; and when that monarch 
was defeated by the Yorkists at Northampton (10th 
July 1460), King James considered himself no longer 
bound by the same, and laid siege to Roxburgh 
Castle, which was still held by the English. He was 
a keen amateur in artillery. The apple of his eye, 

^ He means the first after his marriage. 




* A * 


so to speak, was the great bombard now known 
as Mons Meg, an object of interest at this day in its 
conspicuous position on the platform of the King's 
Bastion in Edinburgh Castle ; it was first employed in 
1455, at the siege of the Threave, the Galloway 
stronghold of Douglas, brother of him whom James 
had slain at Stirling three years before. Many refer- 
ences to this great piece may be found in the 
Chamberlain's Accounts — the cost of its carriage 
from place to place, purchase of canvas for drying 
powder for it {ad arificiendum pulveres bumbardorum 
in castro de Edinburgh), and stone cannon-balls at 
10s. each. 

The tradition that this huge gun, which must have 
been considered a masterpiece of ordnance in the 
fifteenth century, was originally called Mollance 
Meg from having been made by a local blacksmith, 
MacKim of Mollance in Crossmichael parish, 
Galloway, for the siege of Threave, cannot be 
accepted without reserve, despite the high authority 
of Sir Walter Scott. Probably it was forged at 
Mons in Flanders. But it is to Sir Walter that it 
owes its preservation and present situation, for it was 
through his influence with George IV. that it was 
brought back to Edinburgh in 1829 from the Tower 
of London, whither it had been sent, among other 
obsolete ordnance, in 1745. The voice of this great 
piece has been silent since 1682, when it cracked 
in firing a salute to James Duke of York. 

James II. paid with his life for his interest in 


gunnery. His end cannot he told in more forcible 
phrase than Pitscottie's : 

Quhill this prince, more curious nor became the majestie of 
ane king, did stand near hand by quhair the artylHarie wer dis- 
chairged, his thigh bone was dung [smashed] in tuo be ane 
peice of ane misframed gune that brak in the schutting ; be 
the quhilk he was strukin to the ground and died hastihe 
thairefter : quhilk greatumhe discouraged his wholl nobles 
and seruandis [servants] that war standing about him. 

Born, christened, crowned, wedded, and buried in 
Edinburgh — no previous King of Scots had been so 
closely associated with the capital as James with the 
Fiery Face. His widowed Queen founded in 1462 
and built to his memory the collegiate church of 
Holy Trinity, endowing the same for the support of 
a provost, eight prebendaries, and two clerks. Dying 
in the following year, she was buried there, a clause in 
the royal charter prescribing that ** whensoever any of 
the prebendaries shall read mass, he shall thereafter in 
his priestly vestments proceed to the tomb of the found- 
ress with hyssop and there read the De profundis,'' 

Queen Mary's tomb was desecrated during the 
riots attending the Reformation, but her remains 
were found undisturbed when the church was de- 
molished in 1840 ; they were placed in a new coffin 
and reinterred in the Royal Vault in the abbey church 
of Holyrood. Shortly after another royal lady was 
discovered in the course of the demolition of Trinity 
College, whereupon a controversy ensued among 
Edinburgh antiquaries as to which coffin, neither 
being named, held Queen Mary's remains. The 

f .. 



A. Ornamental Capitals. 

B. Piscina in North Wall of Chantry Chapel. 

C. Arms of Alexander, Duke of Albany, younger brother of James III, 

* .- *■ J» 

* •' « ^ * 


second coffin was buried immediately outside the 
Royal Vault at Holyrood. 

Demolished ! Even so : to the discredit of those 
responsible for the deed, this fine example of flam- 
boyant Gothic was sacrificed to the requirements of the 
North British Railway Company, which was bound by 
a clause in its Act to purchase another site and erect 
upon it a replica of Queen Mary's church before re- 
moving the old one. The Company, deeming these 
terms too onerous, resorted to ligitation, which drag- 
ged on for about thirty years, and resulted in the 
erection in 1871-72 of the present Trinity Church in 
Jeffrey Street, a building in Gothic of a different 
period from the original, but constructed largely of 
the stones laid in 1462. There was, unhappily, ample 
precedent for this act of vandalism. The Collegiate 
Church was handed over at the Reformation in 1567 
to the Town Council of Edinburgh, who, in their 
ardour to rid the city of everything that they con- 
sidered an object of idolatry, caused the common seal 
of the College to be destroyed in 1574, because it bore 
the sign of the Cross, and a new device substituted 
bearing the arms of the King and Mary of Gueldres. 

Beside the church Queen Mary built and endowed 
a hospital for bedesmen, the revenues of which were 
taken over at the Reformation by the Town Council 
and applied as a city charity for the relief of decayed 
burgesses and their families.^ 

While deploring, as one must, the destruction of 

^ See p. 125, infra. 


the fifteenth-century church, collegiate buildings, and 
hospital, it is matter for satisfaction that one 
priceless work of art has been restored to the 
Scottish capital in the shape of the altar-piece of 
Holy Trinity Church. It consists of two large 
panels of deal, each measuring 82 inches by 44, coated 
with gypsum and painted on both sides. One panel 
bears a portrait of James HI. and his son, afterwards 
James IV., with St Andrew standing beyond them. 
On the reverse of this panel is a fine group represent- 
ing the Holy Trinity. The second panel has a 
portrait of James's bride, Margaret of Denmark, with 
a saint in armour behind her, and on the reverse a 
portrait of Sir Edward Bonkil, first Provost of the 
College, kneeling beside an organ on which an angel 
is playing. This altar-piece was the gift of Bonkil 
himself, and, although the painting of all the figures, 
which are at whole length, is of the highest quality 
of Flemish art of the period, his portrait is probably 
the only one of the series which was painted from 
life. It is matter of doubt to whom this fine work 
should be attributed. ** Portraiture in Scotland," says 
Mr James L. Caw, Curator of the Scottish National 
Portrait Gallery, '* opens with a masterpiece of 
Flemish painting. Although critical opinion at 
present tends to crystallise in the attribution to 
Van der Goes (died 1482), of whose art only one 
perfectly authenticated example remains, the author- 
ship of the Trinity College altar-piece is not yet 
settled. All that is certain is that it is one of the 

• •: • 

•» . '* 

' - J 1 • 


From the Altar-piece of Holv Trinity Church, now in Holyroodhouse, 
attributed to Van der Goes. 

6 «* 

4 • 



finest works of its school and time."^ The panels 
were transferred to Hampton Court in the seventeenth 
century, but were restored to their rightful place 
in the Scottish capital by Queen Victoria in 1857. 
Their present position in the centre of the picture 
gallery of Holyrood House is very favourable for 
inspection, albeit there is some incongruity in 
placing such an exquisite work of art in the midst 
of the glaring effigies of one hundred and ten Kings 
of Scots — many of them mythical — which James de 
Witt executed under contract in 1684-85 at the rate 
of two guineas a piece ! 

1 Scottish Portraits (1903), p. x. 


There is a ring of soothsaying in Fordun's wail for 
the country whose king is a child. The hapless 
dynasty of Stewart was to furnish full warrant for 
his boding. Fordun was dead before the first James 
came to the throne, but of the six Kings of Scots who 
bore that name the average age at their accession was 
seven years and a half. Four of them died by violence, 
and during the two centuries covered by their reigns, 
Scotland, though she managed to maintain her 
independence, thanks to civil discord in England, 
was deeply and ever more deeply seamed by faction — 
basely and ever more basely sapped by treason. 

None of his house was more darkly dogged by 
misfortune than James III. He was just nine years 
old when he was crowned at Kelso on 10th August 
1460 — fair game, therefore, thought the faction leaders, 
for the time-honoured sport of kidnapping the king ! 
His most capable mother, Mary of Gueldres, managed 
to protect the boy for a while ; but in the summer 
of 1463, a few months before her death, Hepburn of 
Hailes succeeded in stealing James from the custody 
of Bishop Kennedy and the Estates. The record is 
broken, so that it does not appear how the legitimate 


i * ^ 


• ' ' • ; ' - ' ' 


From the Altar-piece of Holy Trinity Church, now in Holyroodhouse, 
attributed to Van der Goes. 



* -v^ 


custodians of the king's person recovered possession ; 
but in 1466, Bishop Kennedy being dead, his elder 
brother. Lord Kennedy, with a number of other 
barons, seized the king at Linlithgow, brought him 
to Edinburgh, and overawed the Estates, so that 
Lord Boyd, one of the conspirators, was appointed 
his guardian. Boyd then got himself made Chamber- 
lain, High Justiciary, and Governor of the Realm, 
and married his son Sir Thomas (created Earl of 
Arran ad hoc) to the king's sister. Princess Mary, 
whom the other party in the State had designed 
for Edward Prince of Wales. 

But the Boyds had plenty of enemies, and as 
King James grew towards manhood he imbibed a 
distrust of them. Before his marriage to Margaret 
of Denmark, which was celebrated at Holyrood on 
13th July 1469 (he being then eighteen), the Boyds 
had been brought to disgrace. Regent Boyd and 
his son Arran fled the country ; the regent's brother. 
Sir Alexander, remaining there, was tried for treason 
in having kidnapped the king, and was beheaded on 
22nd November. As the reign began, so it continued 
to the close, rebellion rearing its head from time to 
time, to be as often quenched in blood. James was 
a student and dilettante, thrilling to the early rays of 
the Renaissance ; tactlessly exasperating his formidable 
barons by making favourites of " fiddlers and brick- 
layers " ; terrifying himself, it was said, by excursions 
in the black arts. His younger brothers, Alex- 
ander Duke of Albany and John Earl of Mar, were 


princes of a very different stamp — manly, handsome, 
debonnaire, popular with all classes. But Albany, 
as Warden of the Marches, trenched, or was held to 
have trenched, on the privileges of the puissant Border 
chiefs Home and Hepburn. In 1479 the king, in- 
stigated, says Pitscottie, by his chief adviser Cochrane, 
a stone-mason of obscure birth, ordered both his 
brothers into arrest. Mar was imprisoned in Craig- 
millar Castle, where he died soon after, bled to death, 
said his friends, by Cochrane's orders — by an unskilful 
chirurgeon, maintained his enemies, letting blood to 
cure a fever. 

Albany, being confined in Edinburgh Castle, 
managed to communicate with some of his many 
friends outside. A French ship laden with wine lay 
in the Forth. Albany obtained leave to get from her 
a couple of two-gallon kegs of malmesey for his own 
use. In one of these kegs was coiled a rope, with a 
paper of secret instructions concealed in wax. Albany 
put the contents of both casks to good use. He 
invited the captain of the Castle to sup with him 
and sample the wine. " The Duik of Albanie," says 
the delectable Pitscottie, "gaif his chamberchyld 
[page] command that he sould drink no wyne that 
night, hot keip him fresche, fFor he knew not quhat he 
wald haue adoe ; thairfor he prayit him to be war 
[cautious] witht him self, and giue [if] thair raise ony 
thing amangis them he prayit him to tak his pairt." 

The captain accepted the invitation readily enough, 
and came attended by four of his men. The good 


malmesey played its part. "Efter that they had 
drukin and all men was in thair bedis, the duik and 
the captane zeid to the tabillis and playit for the 
wyne. The fyre was hott and the wyne was stark, 
and the captane and his men became merie, quhill 
[till] at the last the Duik of Albanie persaueit his 
tyme, and saw them merrie, and maid ane signe to 
his chamberchyld to be redy." The duke leapt 
suddenly on the captain and killed him with his 
whinger. Two of the soldiers, sodden with drink, 
fell under his hand next, while the chamberchyld 
butchered the other two. The five bodies they cast 
into the fire that roared on the hearth. 

Then master and man went out on the rampart 
and let down the rope. The lad went first, and, 
finding it too short, fell and broke his thigh. The 
sentries must have been either few and far between, 
or slumberous, for he was able to call to warn Albany 
against attempting to follow. Albany, however, 
adopted the old device of knotting his sheets together, 
accomplished the descent in safety, picked up his 
maimed servant, carried him on his back to "ane 
quyet place quhair he trowit he might be saife," 
found the Frenchman's boat waiting on the beach at 
Newhaven, and made good his escape.^ 

Two years later, the Castle gates swung open to 

1 Pitscottie gives this adventure a later date than 1 479 ; but 
the records of the period are very obscure^ and, although Albany 
was imprisoned more than once in Edinburgh Castle, it is probable 
that it was on this occasion that he effected his escape as described. 


admit a prisoner of still higher rank than Albany — 
King James himself — for Angus had belled the cat 
to some purpose, hanged Cochrane and that crew 
over Lauder Bridge, and brought his monarch back 
a captive, to be lodged in custody of the Earls of 
Atholl and Buchan. It illustrates the prodigious 
confusion and violence of party politics during this 
reign that one of King James's fellow-prisoners was 
James, ninth and last Earl of Douglas, whom the 
king himself had ordered into confinement, and 
whose twin brother, the eighth earl, had fallen under 
James II.'s dagger at Stirling. Still more perplexing 
was James's release from captivity. The rebel Albany, 
who had already (10th June 1482) signed himself 
"Alexander R.," acknowledged himself vassal of 
Edward IV., and surrendered Berwick to him, ap- 
peared in company with the Earl of Gloucester 
(afterwards Richard III.) before the gate of Edin- 
burgh Castle, summoned and obtained its surrender, 
received King James's pardon, and was made lieu- 
tenant-general of the realm which he had sold to the 
King of England. 

James's rule was spasmodically vigorous at times, 
though it might be more correct to describe him as 
allowing the heads of whatever faction happened to 
be uppermost to take vigorous measures in his name. 
Thus, if we are to believe Pitscottie, no sooner had 
Albany and Angus got control of affairs than 
sixteen barons were clapped into prison in Edinburgh 
Castle — among them Hepburn, Lord Bothwell, the 

t' ii iii'if iriiiii III II iiiiii iiiiiiiiiiiiiiitiiiii 

.) 4 *' " 



Chancellor Lord Evandaill, the Lords Home, 
Maxwell, Fleming, Seaton, Gray, Drummond, and 
Eglinton. But Albany's ambition was insatiable. 
James, whose motives and actions have been un- 
scrupulously traduced by Boece and Pitscottie, went 
great lengths to be reconciled with his brother, 
whom nothing would satisfy but the crown itself, 
even though held in vassalage to England. He 
renewed overtures to Edward IV., and allowed the 
English to take possession of Dunbar Castle. The 
"opposition" lords having been released, flocked 
into Parliament, where Albany was impeached as 
a traitor in absence, and forfeited. Only once did 
he reappear in Scotland, ineffectually raiding the 
West Marches with Douglas, who was captured 
and interned for life in I^indores Monastery ; Albany 
escaping by the fleetness of a good horse. He was 
killed in 1485 in a French tournament. 

King James had been rudely weaned of his liking 
for Edinburgh as a residence. He cared not to hold 
his court in the fortress where he had been lodged 
a prisoner. He preferred Stirling, and "tuik sic 
plesour to duall thair that he left all wther castellis 
and touns in Scotland, because he thocht it maist 
pleasentest duelling thair." ^ It was from Stirling 
that he rode forth on the morning of 11th June 1488 
to the field of Sauchieburn, and it was to Stirling 
that his bloody corpse was brought back at night. 

The city of Edinburgh prospered during the 

^ Pitscottie. 


reign of the third James, and her citizens trace 
some of their most cherished privileges to his favour. 
By his charters he conferred powers upon the Town 
Council to exercise almost exclusive jurisdiction 
within their bounds, and sole right to the customs 
of the port of Leith. When the king's eldest son 
(afterwards James IV.) was betrothed as a babe to 
the infant daughter of Edward IV., the English 
government sought to clinch so desirable an alliance 
by advancing part of the princess's dowry. The 
marriage never took place ; the dowry had to be 
repaid — no simple transaction in a realm where cash 
was always scarce. Provost William Bertraham, 
however, pledged the common good of the city for 
6000 merks, which was duly handed over to Garter 
King-of-Arms ; which timely service King James 
acknowledged by the deed known as the Golden 
Charter, conferring upon the provost and bailies the 
rank of sheriffs of the city. He also presented the 
craftsmen with a standard, which, as the cherished 
labarum of the Edinburgh trades, became famous 
under the name of the Blue Blanket, and was 
displayed in many a conflict, in defensive warfare as 
well as in civil riots. It is still preserved in the City 

It was rumoured that King James had escaped 
from the field of Sauchieburn in one of Sir Andrew 
Wood's ships, the Flower or the Yellow Carvell, 
which were cruising in the Forth at the time and 
received many wounded fugitives on board. The 


prince and the confederate lords marched to Leith ; 
nor was it until Wood came there and assured 
them, with tears in his eyes, that he knew nothing 
of his beloved master's fate that they proceeded on 
the assumption that he had been killed. They took 
the Duke of Rothesay, a stripling of fifteen years, 
to Scone, and crowned him James IV. on 26th 
June.^ On the same day a herald was sent to 
summon the captain of Edinburgh Castle to sur- 
render in the name of the king ; which the captain 
did, seeing that the loyal lords were scattered and 
that the sole authority lay with those who had 
usurped the power. The spoils of office were sub- 
stantial in the fifteenth century. The leaders of 
the successful rebellion had no difficulty in providing 
comfortably for themselves before the coronation. 
Hepburn and Home, arch-conspirators, having led 
the first line at Sauchieburn, received lion's shares : 
Hepburn being made Earl of Bothwell, keeper of 
Edinburgh Castle and Sheriff of the county of Edin- 
burgh, liOrd High Admiral, Master of the House- 
hold, and Warden of the West and Middle Marches ; 
Home became Chamberlain and Warden of the 
East Marches, besides being stuffed with lands 
forfeited from the loyal lords ; Argyll became Chan- 
cellor ; and Angus, possessed already of more than 
any man might conveniently hold, was made 
guardian of the young king. 

Le roi est mort : vive le roi / Although young 

1 Pitscottie erroneously says he was crowned in Edinburgh. 


James is described as being deeply penitent, as well 
he might, for his share in the crime which brought 
him to the throne, he speedily won the admiration 
and goodwill of the people of Edinburgh by the very 
qualities in which his father had been so deficient. 
From the first he showed the liveliest interest in 
public affairs, often riding down to Leith to inspect 
the shipping, eager to adopt the latest improve- 
ments in naval architecture and to encourge mari- 
time trade and the fishing industry. He held his 
first Parliament in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh on 
6th October 1488, when an Act of Indemnity was 
passed, throwing the responsibility for the late civil 
war upon James III. and his "perverse council." 
The matter of choosing a bride for the king was 
discussed and deferred. James himself was in no 
hurry to enter the holy state of matrimony, having 
many years before him to devote to general politics, 
riding circuits, sailing, love-making, hunting, and 
other manly occupations. Society in Edinburgh 
became livelier under his auspices than it had ever 
been before. Tournaments were held frequently, for 
" this prince wes vondrous bardie, and loved nothing, 
so Weill as able men and horsis." Many knights- 
errant came from England and the Continent to 
compete for the king's prizes. The tilting-ground was 
under the Castle Rock on the south side, near the 
royal stables. Hither came one day a champion of 
the Low Countries — "ane Duch knyght called Sir 
Johne Cockbewis," says Pitscottie — whose challenge 

.^ -TSWS^^?. 




'-;'/■"' Vic'"' 

Y'°~"i I 


U cx/* rt/^'ft n£ ^ _ /(,,/(" 

\ \ 

>/lA iS l^yZ V ,',:!' '-. 


From a drawing in the Biblioth&que d'Arras. 

"0 . 

• • ^ •,•: 

f ^ -t ••' '•! 


was taken up by Sir Patrick Hamilton. They broke 
a pair of lances, and sent for another pair ; but 
as Hamilton's horse turned restive, both knights dis- 
mounted and fought on foot for an hour. At last the 
Dutchman was beaten to his knees, and the king threw 
his bonnet into the ring and so stopped the combat. 

James IV. had all his father's brains, with much 
more than his energy. Nor did he neglect the interest 
of learning. Pitscottie declares that he was " weill 
learned in the airt of medicine, and wes ane singular 
guid chirurgiane." In the absence of proof, one 
must take the royal amateur's skill on trust ; but of 
his practical interest in that branch of science there 
is evidence in the existence of the Royal College of 
Surgeons of Edinburgh, which, founded in 1505 by 
the Town Council, received its charter of incorpora- 
tion from the king in 1506.^ The revival of learning 
drew many Scotsmen into its current, encouraged 
by their brilliant young monarch. By his fifth 
Parliament, held in Edinburgh in 1496, it was 
decreed that "all barrones and free-halders that ar 
of substance, put their eldest sonnes and aires to the 
schules fra they be sex or nine yeires of age, and till 
remaine at the grammar-schules quhill [until] they 
be competentlie founded and haue perfite Latine. 
And thereafter to remaine three yeirs at the schules 

1 The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh was not in- 
corporated till l681 ; the Royal College of Physicians of London 
dates from 1518, but the Royal College of Surgeons of London 
dates only from 1800. 



of Art and Jure, swa that they may haue knawledge 
and vnderstanding of the Lawes : Throw the quhilkis 
[whereby] justice may remaine vniversally throw all 
the Realme; swa that they that ar SchirefFs or Judges 
Ordinares vnder the Kingis Hienesse may haue 
knawledge to doe justice, that the puir people sulde 
haue na neede to seek our Soveraine Lordis principal 
Auditour for ilk small injurie." 

William Caxton had set up his printing press at 
Westminster about 1422 ; but it was not till 1507 
that the craft was established in Scotland by exclusive 
privilege of printing granted to Walter Chepman and 
Andro Millar, who set up their press " in the south 
gait of Edinburgh," and produced their first volume 
on 4th April 1508 — l^he Maying and Disport of 
Chaucer, Of the edition which they published in 
the same year of Dunbar's poems, only one imperfect 
copy is known to have survived to our day. Dunbar 
received a salary from King James as poet-laureate, 
as we should now call it ; ecclesiastics had done well 
for the Church had they taken heed to the warnings 
he indited with a frankness which, in an earlier 
generation, would have brought him into grave 
trouble. His lash is all the more searching because, 
after being a Franciscan friar, he had taken priest's 

Sic prycl with prellatis, so few to preiche and pray. 
Sic hant of harlottis with thame, baith nicht and day. 

1 He performed mass before the king for the first time on 17th 
March 1504. 











From a drawing in the Bibliotheque d'Arrr.s. 



-•^ .-<:; 


It must be owned that James exercised patronage in 
a manner little calculated to purge the Church of 
corruption. On the death of Archbishop Scheves of 
St Andrews in 1497 he persuaded Pope Alexander 
VI. (Roderigo Borgia) to appoint his brother, the 
Duke of Ross, who was only twenty-one ; and on 
Ross's death in 1503, James found Pope Julius II. 
equally pliant, and a new primate was found in 
the person of the king's bastard son Alexander, a 
minor. Another of his natural sons was made Abbot 
of Dunfermline. James himself was a canon of 
Glasgow, and rested not until he got that see erected 
into an archbishopric, to the intense irritation of the 
Primate of St Andrews. It is somewhat strange that 
Edinburgh, after being constituted the capital of the 
realm, should never have been erected into a bishopric 
before the Reformation, and that not even an arch- 
deacon was thought of for the city. It may have 
been considered that the dignity of the Abbot of 
Holyrood would be infringed by the vicinity of an 
ecclesiastical superior. 

Overtures had been set afoot by Henry VII. as early 
as 1499 for the marriage of his daughter Margaret to 
King James ; but difficulties of a political as well as 
of a more delicate nature interfered to prolong them 
for years. There was the secret treaty with France 
— which was no secret — binding the King of Scots to 
join France in any war which her king should find 
it expedient to wage against England. There were 
also various dames, each considering herself entitled 


to a prior claim on James's affections, founding, not 
extravagantly, on the fact of having borne children 
to him.^ It was not, therefore, till 8th August 1503 
that King James, being in his thirty-first year, 
married Margaret Tudor in her sixteenth, in the 
Abbey Church of Holyrood. The peace which 
it was Henry VI I. 's genuine desire to ensure by 
this marriage endured till his death in 1509 ; but 
King James encountered a very different spirit in 
his brother-in-law Henry VIII. Personal friction 
between them developed into international dispute, 
and when England joined the Holy League against 
France in 1511, James renewed the ancient alliance 
with Louis XII. *' against all mortal." 

The occasion was favourable for invading England, 
for King Henry had invaded France. The Scottish 
nobles, who, whatever other failings they had, were 
never laggards in war, strained at the leash ; but 
James, says Pitscottie, *' was very sad and doUorous," 
striving in vain to reconcile his treaty obligations to 
France with those to his brother-in-law of England. 
Pitscottie also says that the Queen of France sent 
him a love letter, " nameing him hir love," together 
with a ring from her finger " worth fyfteine thousand 

1 The names of five of these children appear in the records. The 
king's ministers feared that he would marry the beautiful Margaret 
Drummondj who had borne him a daughter about 1497. There is 
nothing in the character of the times inconsistent with truth in the 
current report that the sudden death of Margaret and her two 
sisters after a meal at Drummond Castle resulted from poison 
administered for purposes of State. 


French crounes," and bidding him march three feet 
upon EngHsh ground for her sake. There are pre- 
served in the Heralds' College, London, a sword and 
a ring set with turquoise, said to have been taken 
from the corpse of King James at Flodden. The 
ring is certainly not of the value which Pitscottie 
says Queen Anne put upon it, and Fraser-Tytler 
was probably right in assuming that a gift of 15,000 
crowns accompanied the ring. 

Shrewdly had Anne of Brittany gauged the tem- 
perament of this most inflammable king ; much 
more so than did Queen Margaret, if, as may 
be surmised, she devised the stratagem whereby, 
when James was at his devotions before the altar 
in Holyrood, there appeared "ane man clad in 
ane blew gowne, belted about him with ane roll 
of lining [linen] and ane pair of brottikines on his 
feitt, and all vther thingis conforme thairto," who 
warned the king to abstain from war and women 
at his peril. 

Mobilisation went forward after the manner of the 
times : between 13th and 20th August 1513 there 
assembled on the Borough Muir what was probably 
the largest and best-equipped force that had hitherto 
been mustered in Scotland. Edinburgh had by this 
time risen to such importance as to render the pro- 
vostship an office much coveted by the members of 
noble and knightly families. Sir Alexander Lauder 
of the Bass held it in 1513 ; and as he marched with 
the army, it is mentioned in the city records (which 


begin about this time) that George of Tours was 
appointed as his substitute, with four others to act 
for the absent magistrates.^ 

We may not follow the Scottish columns to their 
doom at Flodden. Let us stand among the old men, 
women and children who throng the streets on 10th 
September — the darkest of all dark days in the 
annals of Edinburgh — awaiting news from the front 
with much confidence ; for hitherto all was known 
to have gone favourably for the Scottish arms. 
There is a busy hum of talk ; the town pipers 
strut to and fro on the causeway, making the 
old walls ring to a defiant pibroch ; the acting 
Provost stands somewhat apart with two or three 
bailies in a space cleared by the civic Serjeants, 
who from time to time deliver raps on the sconces 
of romping youngsters. 

Presently there is a general hush. How or whence 
comes the rumour, none can tell; but noiseless — 
shapeless — it spreads among the people, blotting out 
their mirth like a chill mist on the hillside. They 
must wait a while yet ; but not for very long — an 
hour or so, maybe — and here comes one riding by 
the woods of Merchiston who can bring us true 

1 Lauder having fallen at Flodden, Archibald " Bell-the-Cat/' 
fifth Earl of Angus, succeeded him as Provost. Angus marched 
with the army ; but, having tried to persuade the king to return 
home after taking Wark, Eital, and Norham, it is said that the 
king cruelly accused him of cowardice, whereupon Angus left the 
army. Two of his sons remained with it and fell at Flodden. 


News of battle ! who hath brought it ? 

All are thronging at the gate ; 
" Warder, warder ! open quickly ! 

Man — is this a time to wait ? " 
And the heavy gates are opened ; 

Then — a murmur long and loud, 
And a cry of fear and wonder 

Bursts from out the bending crowd. 
For they see, in battered harness, 

Only one hard-stricken man ; 
And his weary steed is wounded. 

And his cheek is pale and wan. 
Spearless hangs a bloody banner 

In his weak and drooping hand — 
God ! can this be Randolph Murray, 

Captain of the city band ? ^ 

The news was staggering, but the acting Provost 
and bailies did not lose their heads. Surrey's victori- 
ous army might be at the gates any hour ; the city 
had been drained of all men between sixteen and 
sixty, none but striplings and greybeards remained. 
Proclamation was instantly made as follows : — 

We do yow to witt — Forsamekill as thair is ane greit rumour 
now laitlie rysin within this toun tuiching [touching] our 
Souerane Lord and his army, of the quhilk we understand thair 
is cumin na veritie as yit, thairfore we charge straitlie and 
commandis in our Souerane Lord the Kingis name, and the 
presidentis for the provest and baillies within this burgh, that 
all maner of personis nychtbouris [citizens] within the samyn 
haue reddye thair fensabill geir [armour] and wappons for weir 
[war], and compeir thairwith to the said presidentis at jowyng 
[ringing] of the commoun bell, for the keiping and defens of the 
toun aganis thame that wald invaid the samyn. 

1 "Edinburgh after Flodden/' Aytoun's Lays of the Scottish 


And als chairgis that all wemen, and specialie vagaboundis, 
that thai pas to thair labouris and be nocht sene vpoun the 
gait [street] clamorand and cryand, vnder the pane of banesing ^ 
of the personis, but fauouris [without favour], and that vther 
wemen of gude pas to the kirk and pray quhane [when] tvme 
requiris for our Souerane Lord and his armye and nychtbouris 
being thairat, and hald thame at thair previe labouris of the 
gait within thair housis as efferis [as is proper]." ^ 

" Our Souerane Lord " was lying stark upon the 
wet hillside of Flodden, within a ring of thirteen 
slaughtered earls, an archbishop and two bishops, 
while far and near the ground was cumbered with 
the corpses of gentle and simple, the best blood of 
Highlands and Lowlands, townsmen and country 
folk. Had Surrey been able to press his advantage, 
Edinburgh could not have held out long ; for James 
had stripped the Castle of its ordnance for his expedi- 
tion, the pride of his field artillery being the Seven 
Sisters — brass cannon, supposed to be without their 
equal for beauty and strength. But Surrey, accord- 
ing to the contemporary Bishop of Durham, was 
so short of supplies that he could not undertake 
a pursuit, and the Scots who survived that day of 
dule were allowed to make leaderless retreat across 
the Tweed. 

None the less, however, did it behove the Town 
Council to improve their defences. The wall built 

1 In Scots literature and speech, which was the same as old 
Northern English, the distinction was preserved between the 
gerund and the present participle^ the former ending in '^-ing" 
and the latter in "-and." 

2 Edinburgh Burgh Records, 10th September 1513. 


in 1450 did not enclose the Cowgate, where many of 
the wealthier citizens had built good houses ; where- 
fore a new wall was planned, extending southwards 
from the West Port as far as Lauriston, where there 
was another port or city gate called the Vennel. 
Hence it ran east as far as Teviot Row, turned 
sharply to the north as far as the Bristo Port, and 
again turned eastward along what is now the south . 
side of the University and Drummond Street, till it 
touched the Pleasance. There it turned due north 
again, and was carried along Leith Wynd, with ports 
at the Cowgate and Nether Bow, so far as to encom- 
pass Trinity Church and its collegiate buildings, 
returning at a sharp angle to join the old fortification 
at the foot of the Nor' Loch. Such was the Flodden 
Wall, the cost whereof and of " furnesing of artail- 
yerie for the resisting of the auld innemies of 
Ingland," was defrayed, in part at least, by a 
levy of £500 on the citizens.^ 

The West Port, whence the Flodden Wall started, 
had long been one of the principal gates of the city. 
The castellated gatehouse, which was built or rebuilt 
when the new defences were in progress about 1514, 
has now been swept away, greatly to the detriment 
of the landscape and to the sorrow of antiquaries. 
It had been the scene of many entries and de- 
partures, triumphal and otherwise. Hard by, to the 
west, was the Baresse, known later as Livingstone's 
Yards, set apart of old for the judicial process of trial 

1 Edinburgh Burgh Records^ I7th March 1513-14, etc. 


by battle. But the romantic associations of this dis- 
trict have been overshadowed and deeply sullied by 
the sickening series of crimes perpetrated in the 
neighbouring Tanners' Close by Burke and Hare. 
These two ruffians, associated with a woman named 
Helen M'Dougall, occupied a lodging-house in what 
was probably the evillest slum in the city, whither 
they lured tramps and vagrants of both sexes, and 
did them to death by strangulation, after stupefying 
them with whisky. The corpses were easily disposed 
of to — well, it seems that it was not considered expe- 
dient to inquire too curiously into the identity of the 
purchasers who, so keen was their ardour in the study 
of human anatomy, eagerly paid, at first £7, later £12, 
for each body that they could obtain for dissection. 
The demand was always in excess of the supply in 
this hideous traffic, though the precise number of 
victims was never ascertained. It is certain, how- 
ever, that the number of persons murdered in this 
den in Tanners' Close between Christmas 1827 and 
October 1828 was not less than sixteen, and may 
have amounted to thirty. Hare saved his vile life 
by turning king's evidence ; the verdict upon the 
woman M'Dougall was *' not proven " ; Burke only 
was hanged, leaving his name to pass into our voca- 
bulary as a transitive verb by the same automatic 
process that has brought Lynch and Boycott to 
similar use. Further memorials of this chapter of 
crime remain in our time in the shape, namely, of 
the queer little watch-houses erected in many Scottish 


kirkyards, the cages of strong iron bars placed over 
some of the tombs to baulk the "resurrectionists," 
and the Anatomy Acts of 1832 and 1871, providing 
for the legitimate requirements of surgical and 
medical science. 


Yet another infant king ! James V. was aged one 
year and five months when he was crowned at Stirling 
within a few days of his father's death at Flodden. 
That father by his will had appointed his widow, 
Margaret Tudor, regent of the realm, so long as she 
remained unmarried, and sole guardian of the babe ; 
but Parliament, meeting, not in Edinburgh but in 
Perth, appointed Archbishop Beaton and the Earls 
of Huntly, Angus, and Arran to be her advisers. 
Volcanic material here I and it was the queen's own 
act that fired the train for an explosion ; for, after 
bearing a posthumous son to her dead husband on 
13th April 1514, she secretly married Angus on 6th 
August following, thereby forfeiting the regency. 

The announcement of the marriage caused im- 
mediate and violent outburst of faction. Arran 
claimed the regency as nearest of kin to the king: 
Angus as consort of the queen-mother. In the end 
the Duke of Albany, grandson of James II. and heir- 
presumptive to the throne, was proclaimed regent ; 
but the feud ensuing between the houses of Douglas 
and Hamilton caused much blood to flow on the 
scaffold and in the field for many years to come. In 



1518 Arran contrived to be elected Provost of Edin- 
burgh, an office much coveted by faction leaders ; 
but in 1519 Angus managed to get him ousted in 
favour of his own kinsman Archibald Douglas. 
Hitherto Angus, strong in his position as stepfather 
to the king, had kept the whip-hand over his rival ; 
but he was not an exemplary husband, and Queen 
Margaret was taking measures to obtain a divorce ; 
pending which, she intrigued with Arran against the 
Douglas party. Howbeit, Angus was very popular 
with the Edinburgh citizens, who were well pleased 
when Arran, seeking entrance to the city with a 
strong armed following, found the gates closed in his 
face by command of Provost Douglas. There was a 
scuffle, and one of the Douglas party fell under the 
sword of Sir James Hamilton of Finnart, known 
as the Bastard of Arran. 

Regent Albany was absent in France at the time, 
but urgent messages were despatched to him, describ- 
ing the anarchy in Edinburgh ; whereupon he wrote 
commanding that, until he returned home and for a 
year after, no person of the name of Douglas or 
Hamilton " sould bruke the office of pro vestry within 
the toun of Edinburgh."^ In conformity with this 
order, Archibald Douglas was made to resign his 
office, Robert Logan of Coitfield being elected in 
his place. ^ 

In April of that year there was a meeting of the 
Estates in Edinburgh, to which came Arran with a 

1 Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh. 


following of 500 lances. On the morrow after his 
arrival it was found that he had taken possession of 
all the gates of the city, and Angus was warned that 
his enemy intended to seize him in his house in the 
West Bow. James Beaton, Archbishop of Glasgow, 
was a kinsman of Arran, therefore a hot Hamilton 
partisan. Angus's uncle, Gawain Douglas, once and 
for a brief month or two Archbishop of St Andrews, 
but now only Bishop of Dunkeld, sought an inter- 
view with Beaton. They met in the church of the 
Black Friars ; Douglas besought the archbishop to 
use his great influence to avert the collision which was 
so imminent. With a gesture of despair Beaton ex- 
claimed : " Upon soul and conscience, 1 am powerless 
in this matter ! " and smote his hand over his heart. 
" Methinks, my lord, your conscience is not good, for 
it clatters " ; for the other prelate's bosom gave out 
a metallic sound, showing that, under his vestments, 
he was fully armed for the fray.^ Douglas, honestly 
intent upon avoiding bloodshed, then went off to 
Arran's brother, Sir Patrick Hamilton, who, in turn, 
persuaded Arran to consent to Angus passing from 
his house to the Castle, where he could take leave of 
his wife, and then leave the town unmolested. 

" Bot," says Pitscottie, " Schir James Hammilltoun his soiie, 
that bluddie bouchour, ewer thirstand for bliide, was noway is 
content of this appoyntment, bot ragit at the said Mr Patrick 
for his labouris, sayand to him that he had no will to fight 

1 Pitscottie is the authority for this incident, but he dates it 
in 1515. 

JO • • 




in his freindis actioun nor quarrell, thocht [although] it war 
never so just. At thir wordis the said Schir Patrick was so 
grewit [grieved] and brunt in anger as the fyre, and ansuerit 
the said Schir James in this maner, say and to him : ' Bastard 
smaik, thou lies fallslie ! I sail fight this day quhair thow dar 
nocht be sene'; and witht this ruschit out rudlie of thair 
ludgeingis and passit into the hie gait [High Street] in ane 
furieous rage.**"* 

Then took place a faction fight memorable even 
among the many outrages of that thmiderous age. 
Angus's force was inferior in number to Arran's, 
but he had the choice of ground. He drew his 
men up across the High Street near the head of 
Blackfriars' Wynd. Sir Patrick and the Master 
of Montgomerie^ led the attack, with loud cries 
of " Cleanse-the-Causeway ! Through, through ! " ^ 
Both these knights fell in the first onset. Thereafter 
the fight was long and fierce, swaying up and down 
the High Street, a stirring spectacle for the people 
who were in crowds at the windows. The combatants 
were fairly matched ; but the issue was decided by 
the citizens, with whom Angus was prime favourite. 
A body of them assembled, struck in on Arran's 
flank and rear, and thereby turned the scale. Arran 
and James Hamilton escaped down a close to the 
Nor' Loch, and seized a collier's horse which carried 
them both, wading or swimming, to the far shore. 
Archbishop Beaton sought sanctuary in the Black- 

1 Eldest surviving son of the first Earl of EgHnton. 

2 The slogan of the Hamiltons was " Through ! " which remains 
the motto of the family at this day. 


friars' Church, but he was dragged from behind the 
altar ; his rocquet was torn oif, and assuredly he 
would have perished but for the intercession of 
good Bishop Gawain. 

So ended the affray long remembered as *' Cleanse- 
the- Causeway." Hand-to-hand fighting, especially 
in a street, is deadliest of all. Pitscottie affirms that 
two hundred and fifty-two of Arran's people were 
killed ; Hathornden, more discreetly, estimates the 
number at eighty. 

With such scenes as this (and Cleanse-the-Cause- 
way was only one of many similar ones) being 
enacted in their streets, it was no extravagant 
decision at which the Town Council arrived in 
this year, namely, to grant their Provost " ane 
hundreth merkis of the common guid, by [in addition 
to] the ordinar fie,^ for the sustentatioun of iiij 
servandis till beir [to bear] halbertis with him . . . 
becaus the warld is brukle [brittle] and trublus . . . 
and that it is necessar to haif seruandis with 
him . . . with wapponis till stope all troublis and 

Meanwhile the poor little king was practically a 
state prisoner in Edinburgh Castle. He was now 
eight years old, unconscious, it may be supposed, of 
the conflict perpetually being waged for the possession 
of his person. He had a succession of erudite tutors — 

1 In 1481 the Town Council had decreed that^ "for honour 
and worschip of the toune " the Provost should receive a yearly 
fee of £20, " to endure perpetually." 


Gavin Dunbar, Sir David Lindsay, James Inglis, and 
John Bellenden — the three last-named being poets, or 
at least rhymesters. Albany had brought over some 
French archers, which he constituted as a royal 
bodyguard, their uniform being a scarlet doublet 
faced with black. The king was allowed to ride 
out on a mule, always under escort of these archers ; 
for, while the Scottish faction leaders relaxed no- 
thing in their pursuit of his person, his uncle Henry 
VIII. had now taken a foremost place among the 
hunters. Any attempt to retrace the sordid mazes of 
party politics during the king's minority, the plots and 
counterplots, the depths of treason and supertreason, 
the desolating wars and murderous family feuds would 
lead us far beyond the limits of this sketch. Our 
immediate concern is with the community packed 
within the narrow confines of the city walls, which, 
despite the prevailing unrest and violence, despite, 
also, a severe and prolonged visitation of plague, 
continued to grow in wealth, and population.^ 

The Town Council met, normally, twice a week, 
at 9 a.m. on Wednesday and Friday, in the Tolbooth. 
Any councillor who " bydes ower the ceissing of the 
bell," that is, who was not in his place when the bell 
ceased to ring, was fined sixpence ; one who was 
absent all day " sail pay xiid. vnforgevin." It may 
be noted that such fines were not credited to the 
account of the Common Good, but, as appears from 
minutes of 1st October 1431, 19th October 1492, 

^ See Appendix B, The Revenues of Edinburgh. 



etc., the proceeds were ** to be drukken be the dusane " 
— that is, spent in drink for " the Dozen. "^ 

Judged according to modern standard the penal 
code of the burgh must be accounted draconian, the 
magistrates having full power over life and liberty ; 
but in effect it was temperately administered during 
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. For ordinary 
breaches of the peace and other minor offences the 
usual sentence upon male misdemeanants was that 
they be taken to the Tolbooth and "strekin throw 
the hand " — that is, a knife or other instrument driven 
through the hand. Habitual offenders were banished 
the town for a term, or for life, on pain of hanging 
if they were found trespassing. The corresponding 
sentence upon women was branding on the cheek 
(a penalty often inflicted upon men also). In 1515 a 
lad convicted of art and part with a common thief 
was sentenced "to be scurgeit to the gallows and 
thair his lug takkit [his ear nailed] to the beame, and 
banist this towne and four myle about for all the 
dayes of his lyfe, and neuir to cum thairin vnder the 
payne of deid." Banishment was so freely employed 
as a convenient way of ridding the town of undesir- 
ables that it must have had an appreciable effect 
upon the population of the city. 

^ ** The Great Dozen " was the term indicating the whole body 
of councillors other than the provost, dean, and other officials. In 
the earliest full list of the Council which has been preserved, that 
for 1403, there are 45 duodene Burgi. A court of twelve were 
summoned in rota from this number for the discharge of ordinary 


Recurrent visitations of plague caused the magis- 
trates to inflict severer punishment than heretofore 
upon persons evading the regulations made to prevent 
infection. For instance, in October 1530, Katrine 
Heriot, who was convicted of stealing some buckram, 
had entered the town from Leith, which was an 
infected area, for which she was condemned to be 
drowned "in the Quarell hollis [quarry holes] at 
the Grayfrere port." In the same month Marion 
Clerk suffered a similar doom for having attended 
mass in St Mary's Chapel, " the pestylens and seiknes 
beand apone hir." 

The sanitary precautions imposed by the magistrates 
were of a primitive character. All infected goods, 
garments, bedclothes, etc., were to be delivered to 
five appointed " clengers," whose business it was to 
take the stuff down to "the rynnand [running] 
Watter of Leith, and na vther place, nother wellis, 
nor yitt at the Sowth Loch, nor yitt at the North 
Loch," under pain of the said stuff being burnt. 
The " clengers " bore as the badge of their most 
undesirable office a white wand "with a hupe of 
quhite irne at the end," and were entitled to a 
" waidge " of 6d. a day. Plague-stricken houses were 
to be "singit and fyrit with bather [heather] after 
the forme of the awld statutes." 

Some attention was paid to cleansing the streets, 
whereof the habitual condition must have been 
enough to create, as well as to propagate, any amount 
of plague. There are frequent enactments against 


pigs and dogs being allowed to roam in them ; in 
1498 children are included in the prohibition, the 
parents of any " bairnis vagand on the gaitt [wander- 
ing on the street] or in the kirkis " being liable to 
the heavy fine of 40s. Orphan children, having no 
parents to be fined, were consigned " to the netherholl 
[Nether Hole]," a dungeon below the Tolbooth. 

It was an object of the Council's constant care to 
protect their fellow-citizens against exorbitant prices 
for the necessaries of life ; hence the frequent punish- 
ments imposed upon " regraters " and " forestallers," 
or, as they would now be termed, middlemen. The 
offence consisted in intercepting goods or live stock 
on their way to open market in Edinburgh, buying 
them wholesale at a moderate rate, and selling them 
retail at a much higher price. It required incessant 
vigilance to check this practice. The Town Council 
always appointed certain of their number as valuers 
(appreciatores) for such commodities as meat, wine, 
etc., and fixed a maximum price for each from time 
to time. For instance, it was enacted in 1499 that 
beer should not be sold at more than Is. 4d. the 
gallon. Brewing appears to have been done ex- 
clusively by women, for, on 8th January in that year, 
fifty " wyffes " were convicted of a breach of the 
statutes, and on the 11th sixty more were dealt with. 
Considering how lightly human life was regarded 
in Scotland during the reigns of James IV. and V., 
and bearing in mind the sanguinary scale of punish- 
ment administered by the High Court of Justiciary 


at this period,^ it must be allowed to the credit of the 
Edinburgh bailies that they exercised their power of 
pit and gallows with remarkable clemency. Execu- 
tions by hanging, burning, or decapitation were, 
indeed, among the common incidents of town life, 
serving to relieve its monotony by affording an excuse 
for an outing ; but a very small proportion of the 
victims received their doom from the Provost and 
bailies. One poor wretch whom they condemned to 
death escaped his doom in a singular way. It was 
a time of plague (1580), when notification' of- ev6ry 
case as it occurred was compulsory. David Daly's:.; .-.; -;'; 
wife having been struck down by it, David omitted 
to notify it, and went to mass in St Giles's *' amangis 
the cleyne pepill." The wife died, and David was 
sentenced to be hanged before his own door "for 
his own demerits." Hanged he was at the appointed 
hour, but the rope broke ; whereupon the Provost 
and bailies, having compassion on him as " ane pure 
[poor] man with small barnis [children]," commuted 
his punishment to perpetual banishment from 

A worse evil than the plague — one more hideous 
than any bodily ailment — now reared its head in the 
Scottish capital. In August 1534 the Ecclesiastical 
Commissioners appointed to try heretics met in the 
Palace of Holyrood, which James IV. had begun to 
erect as the chief royal residence, dying before the 
building was half done. A number of persons were 

1 See Pitcairn's Criminal Trials^ passim. 


arraigned before them, young James V. being present, 
clothed from head to foot in scarlet. Some of the 
accused recanted and burnt their faggots ; the king 
would fain have had leniency shown to others, but 
the bishops declared that he had no prerogative of 
mercy in matters ecclesiastical, and quoted his corona- 
tion oath which their predecessors had taken care 
should bind him to extirpate heresy. David Straiton, 
a gentleman of Forfarshire, and a priest named 
Norman Gourlay, were condemned to the stake, and 
were burnt to death at the Cross of Greenside on 
•the Calton Hill on 27th August. Pitscottie's vigor- 
ous commentary on this legal murder incidentally 
throws some light upon the morals of the secular 
clergy in that age : 

Mr Normond Galloway [Gourlay] was condemnit and brunt, 
I know no cause quhairfoir hot because he was in the eistland 
[Norway or Sweden] and cam hame and marieit ane wyfe 
contrair to our actis, because he was ane preist. Ffor they wald 
thoill [allow] no preistis to marrie bot they wald punische and 
burne him to the deid [to death], bot gif he had wssit [used] 
ane thowsand huris [whores] he wad nocht haue been brunt. 

Three years later, on 19th May 1537, King James 
landed at Leith with his bride JVIadeleine de Valois, 
who knelt and kissed the soil of Scotland, and took up 
her abode at Holyrood, only to die there a few weeks 
later. " Doole weeds " were worn out of regard for 
the queen's untimely death — the first instance, says 
Buchanan, of mourning dress in Scotland. 

James V. sought relief in his bereavement by apply- 
ing himself to the extirpation of the Red Douglas 


(Angus) and his kin as relentlessly as his great grand- 
father James II. had dealt with the race of the Black 
Douglas. Angus and his brothers were proclaimed 
rebels, and outlawed. In vain did Sir Archibald 
Douglas of Kilspindie,^ whom James in the fervour 
of boyish affection had named " Greysteil " after the 
hero of a popular ballad, return from exile, con- 
scious of unwavering loyalty, to implore his king's 
grace. There was no grace now for any of the name 
of Douglas — nay, for any in whose veins the blood 
of Douglas ran, nor for any who had taken a bride of 
the proscribed house. Consequently, it was easy to 
get John, Master of Forbes, convicted of high trea- 
son ; for had not he married a sister of the outlaw 
Angus? He was condemned to ''be harlyt and 
drawin trow the cassay [through the causeway] of 
Edinburgh, and hangit on the gallouse to the deid 
[to death], and quarterit and demanyt as ane tray- 
tour." " The people," says Calderwood in his History 
of the Church of Scotland, "judged not the Master 
of Forbes to be guiltie of that Treasoune quhich was 
laid to his charge ; yet they did not lament for his 
death, because he had bein guiltie of manie grivious 
offences other way es." Which was true enough ; but 
he died only because his wife was a Douglas. Yet 
must we not be too hard upon King James ; he did 
mitigate the severity of the sentence in some measure ; 
for, as Sir James Balfour drily records in his Annales, 
"the Master of Forbes had sentence to be hanged 

^ Fourth son of the fifth Earl of Angus, " Bell-the-cat." 


and quartered ; but, by the mediatione of some 
friends, had the fauor to be beheaded and quartered." 

It was a bloody summer of 1537 in Edinburgh ; 
and the darkest stain of all upon the memory of 
James V. and his corrupt justiciary is that which was 
left by proceedings immediately following the execu- 
tion of Forbes. 

Jean Douglas, Lady Glamis, was the grand- 
daughter of Archibald " Bell-the-Cat," fifth Earl of 
Angus. Her father and uncle died with their king 
at Flodden ; but that king's son had sworn that none 
of the Douglas brood should be allowed to go free in 
Scotland, and the net of justice — save the mark I — 
showed no discrimination of sex. By such show of 
justice as might be contrived, Lady Glamis must be 
done to death. 

She had married John, sixth Lord Glamis, about 
the year 1520, and was left a widow at his death in 
December 1528. That was the year when her 
brothers Angus and George of Pittendreich were 
outlawed, and she was arraigned on a charge of 
intercommuning with them — the king's rebels. As 
she did not answer the summons, decree of forfeiture 
was passed against her in 1531. After that, she 
married Campbell of Skipness, and in 1537 her per- 
secutors indicted her on a charge of having murdered 
her first husband per intoxicationem, a vague term 
which has been interpreted as meaning the use of 
"drugs, charms, or enchanted potions."^ The pro- 

^ Pitcairn's Criminal Trials j vol. i. part i. p. "^ 1 89. 


secution was abandoned, the barons utterly refusing 
to proceed with so preposterous a case. Several of 
them were fined in consequence. At last the king 
succeeded in constraining a corrupt assize to convict 
this unhappy lady of " tressonabill conspiratioune and 
ymaginatioune of the slauchter and destructioun of 
our souerane lordis maist nobill persone be poysone." 
She was condemned to be burnt to death on the 
Castle Hill of Edinburgh on 17th July 1537. Well 
might Henry VIII.'s envoy, Sir Thomas Clifford, in 
reporting the matter to his master, observe that the 
verdict was "without any substanciall ground or 
proyf of matter." It was in accord with the deplor- 
able corruption of Scottish justice at this period that 
the jury which consigned this unfortunate lady to 
her doom was composed of members of the leading 
families in the realm, namely: 

John, Earl of Atholl. Gilbert, Earl of Cassillis. 

John, Earl of Buchan. William, Lord Sempill. 

Robert, Lord Maxwell. Sir John Melville of Raith. 

William, Master of Glencairn. Sir James Tours of Innerleith. 

John Home of Cowdenknowes. David Barclay of Mathers. 

William Kirkpatrick of Kirk- John Edmonstone of that Ilk. 

michael. William Maclellan, Tutor of 
John Crichton of Ruthven. Bomby. 

James Kerr of Mersington. 

Lady Glamis's husband, Campbell of Skipness, and 
her son, young Lord Glamis, having been arrested at 
the same time as herself, were prisoners in the Castle. 
On the day after his wife's execution, Campbell of 
Skipness attempted to escape by letting himself 


down by a rope over the walls. Probably this was 
connived at by instructions from high authority, for 
the rope broke — or was it cut ? — when the unfortunate 
man was dangling over the rock, and he was dashed 
to pieces. The young lord, who had been condemned 
on the same charge as his mother, to be drawn and 
hanged, remained a prisoner in the Castle so long as 
King James lived, and was released and his forfeiture 
rescinded immediately after the said king's death ; 
which goes to strengthen the presumption against 
James as being the chief agent in the whole of these 
nefarious proceedings. 

King James, since the fall of Angus, had most 
cordially renewed the Scoto-French alliance, thereby 
paving the way for future ills at the hands of his 
uncle, Henry VIII. of England. Accordingly, he 
lost no time in seeking another French bride in the 
person of Marie de Guise, widow of Louis, Due de 
Longueville, whom he brought home in the summer 
of 1538. The plague was still lurking in the noisome 
closes of Edinburgh, but the Town Council were not 
to be deterred from giving the new queen a fitting 
reception. They not only " devysit " to present her 
with forty hogsheads of wine " in propyne "—that is, 
as a wedding gift, — but also that twelve of their 
number should receive her " accowterit and array it 
in gownis of veluott with thair pertinentis," four 
being in purple velvet, four in tawny, and four in 
black. Further, it was ordered that the deacon of 
each trade guild should parade a quota of his craft in 


gowns of French cloth, with doublets of velvet, satin, 
damask or silk, and *' honest hose." Unofficial in- 
habitants were charged to wear their best clothes 
at the time of the queen's entry, and to let " na vyle 
persouns be in thair company " ; and each householder 
was made responsible for the removal of all filth from 
the street opposite his dwelling, as must indeed have 
been expedient, " for the honour of the Kingis Grace 
and the guid towne." Master Henry Lauder was 
chosen to deliver an address of welcome to the queen, 
" with the words in Fransche," in such raiment as 
might be devised by a committee of three appointed 
to arrange this important detail. The " lufray " (livery) 
prescribed for the sixteen Serjeants employed by the 
Council was of somewhat gloomy cast, consisting of 
a black coat with " indentit " sleeves bearing the arms 
of the city, black hose, and, for seven of them graded 
as officers, *' ane marabas [marabout] bonet," with a 
white feather costing 16s. Queen Marie's coronation 
appears to have been postponed till February 1540 :^ 
if, as perhaps was the case, it took place in the previ- 
ous year, the bishops would not allow it to be made 
an occasion for royal clemency, seeing that on 28th 
February they caused five heretics to be burned on 
the Castle Hill of Edinburgh, and two others in 

It is acts of this detestable kind that lend a haunt- 
ing horror to the steep streets of Old Edinburgh. 
Deeds of violence done in hot blood, family and 

* Diurnal of Occurrents. 


political feuds that made the gutters run red, arson, 
abduction, manifold oppression — have they not blotted 
the early records of every historic town ? We read 
of them with as little shame as when we recall mem- 
ories of our own youthful irregularities ; but one's 
gorge rises at the remembrance that men and women 
could ever have been guilty of those cowardly enor- 
mities whereof James V. was compelled to sanction 
the infliction upon the quivering frames of his Scottish 
subjects. It lightens not the guilt that James's uncle, 
Henry VIII., was inflicting similar and simultaneous 
persecution upon Bishop Fisher, Sir Thomas More, 
and many others of the old faith ; rather, it adds to 
our indignation that on one side of the Tweed it was 
a capital crime to be a Papist, on the other side to be 
a Protestant. 

Even more revolting, if possible, were the results 
of the insane dread of witchcraft which came to a 
head in the sixteenth century, impelling the hier- 
archy and laity of both old and new religions to equal 
excesses of cruelty. Of that, more will have to be 
said when we reach the reign of James VI. Mean- 
while, all that may be noted here is that witchcraft 
was no count in the indictment of Lady Glamis, as 
some of the earlier historians have alleged. The 
crime whereof she was unjustly convicted was high 

James's latter years were harassed by genuine 
traitors. He had expelled the Douglases, indeed, but 
he had not drawn their fangs. Angus and the rest 


were now numbered among those whom Henry V^III. 
reckoned as " assured Scots " ; that is, the nobles who 
had striven against the French connection and were 
now working in the EngHsh interest. The shameful 
rout at Solway Moss on 24th November 1542 sent 
the King of Scots to Falkland Palace a dying man. 
His daughter, Mary Stuart,^ was born at Linlithgow 
on the 8th December, and became Queen of Scots 
when he breathed his last on the 14th, aged only 
thirty years and eight months. Of a truth, mis- 
fortune bore hardly on the house of Stewart. 

1 Controversy has been long and keen over the orthography of 
the name of the royal family of Scotland. No doubt it was origin- 
ally Stewart, but Queen Mary is usually accorded the French form, 


" I CAME not to send peace on earth, but a sword." 
The truth of this saying by the Founder of Christianity 
must have profoundly impressed such of the people 
of Scotland as took advantage of the Act vv^hich 
Robert, Lord Maxwell, succeeded in passing through 
Queen Mary's first Parliament in 1543, allowing all 
men, for the first time, to read the Bible in their own 
language. Hitherto, anyone convicted of doing so 
was liable to be burnt as a heretic, and the new 
privilege was in the teeth of bitter opposition by the 
Lord Chancellor and all the prelates, foreshadowing 
only too faithfully the cruel conflict of creeds which 
was at hand.^ 

Meanwhile a treaty had been drafted by Henry 
VIII. and the "assured Scots" affiancing the 
infant Mary Queen of Scots to Edward, Prince 
of Wales, and Scottish envoys were in London 
negotiating the terms thereof. They could not 
obtain such as would satisfy even the English 
party in Scotland ; King Henry, brooking no delay, 
insisted upon the treaty being ratified before the 
end of August. Ratified it was, therefore ; but not 

^ See Appendix C, The Scottish Reformation. 



before King Henry had changed his mind, and 
decided to take a shorter way of estabhshing his 
dominion over Scotland, by seizing the person of 
the little queen. 

On 10th April 1544 Lord Hertford, commanding 
the forces which had been mobilised some time before, 
received orders from the Privy Council to invade 
Scotland, " putting man, woman, and child to fire and 
sword where any resistance shall be made against 
you." He chose a new route. Embarking his troops 
at Shields, he landed near Leith, which seaport he 
occupied. Regent Arran declined battle, though he 
and Cardinal Beaton had 6000 troops near at hand, and 
retired to Linlithgow, leaving Edinburgh to its fate. 
Hertford, reinforced by 4000 horse from Berwick 
under Lord Evers, marched on to the capital, which 
he summoned. The Provost, Sir Adam Otterburn, 
came out to meet him ; but when he heard the 
English lord's terms — unconditional surrender and 
the delivery of the queen's person — he galloped 
back and gave orders for the defence of the city. 
The citizens mustered briskly under the Blue Blanket ; 
but Hertford's artillery prevailed ; the Nether Bow 
Port was blown open ; the EngHsh poured into the 
town, slaughtered many citizens, and fired the streets 
in eight places. But Hertford's gunners, without 
his orders, rashly opened fire upon the Castle, whence 
the garrison replied so effectively that, as Hertford 
confessed in his despatch, when the garrison made a 
sortie his troops bolted, trampling on each other in 


the gateway, and leaving at least one of their guns. 
He lost about 500 men in this exploit ; but before he 
reerossed the Border he had sacked and burnt Edin- 
burgh, wrecked King David's beautiful Abbey Church 
of Holyrood, and gutted King James's fine palace 
there. Only the Castle stood impregnable on its 
mighty rock. 

In the loot carried off by Hertford's officers. Sir 
Richard Lee secured two notable objects. One of 
these was the " fair font of solid brasse " which good 
Abbot Bellenden had presented to the church of 
Holyrood in the previous century. Lee's home 
was not far from St Albans,^ and he gave the font, 
perhaps a fine piece of Renaissance work, to the 
great minster of that place, where the Reformed 
clergy caused it to be engraved with a Latin 
inscription, of which the following is a translation : — 

When Leith, a not inconsiderable town of the Scots, and 
Edinburgh, their principal city, had been destroyed by fire, 
Richard Lek, knight, rescued me from the flames and brought 
me to the English. In return for this good deed, I, being 
hitherto used to washing none but the children of kings, have 
now willingly yielded my services even to the meanest of the 

Such was the will of the victorious Lee. 

In the year of our Lord mdxliiii. and of Henry the Eighth 

For one hundred years this font remained a chief 
ornament of the great Hertfordshire minster, and 
we learn from Thomas Fuller how it was "taken 

1 Totteridge Park, near Barnet. 


away in the late civil wars, as it seems, by those 
hands which suffered nothing (how sacred soever) 
to stand, that could be converted into money. . . . 
I could almost wish," he adds, " that the plunderer's 
fingers had found it as hot as when it was forged, 
so that these thieves, with their fault, might have 
received the deserved punishment thereof.^ 

Lee's other prize still remains in St Stephen's 
Church at St Albans. It is an eagle lectern of brass, 
inscribed with the legend : 

Now George Creichton was Abbot of Holyrood 
till he became Bishop of Dunkeld in 1522, so this 
was probably his parting gift to the abbey. His 
arms — a lion rampant on a shield backed by a crozier 
and surmounted by a mitre — appear on the lectern. 
It narrowly escaped the same fate as the font ; the 
clergy of St Stephen's prudently buried it in the floor 
of the chancel, where it was discovered in 1750 by 
the sexton when digging a grave.^ 

Hertford, under his new name of Protector 
Somerset, led a fresh invasion in 1547 ; and, after 
putting Regent Arran and Angus to shameful rout 
at Pinkie, completed the destruction of Holyrood. 

^ Worthies of England, vol. i. p. 315. 

2 The rectory and church of St Stephen's was the property of 
the monks of St Albans till the dissolution of the monasteries in 
1539. King Henry granted both to Sir Richard Lee on 7th January 
1544-45, shortly after the return of the army from Scotland. See 
Appendix D, The Treasures of Holyrood Abbey. 



Pious Abbot Bellenden, among his many benefac- 
tions, had *' theikkit the kirk with lead." Now lead, 
since the use of firearms had become general, was 
reckoned among the most valuable munitions of war. 
The monks of Holyrood had fled ; their church 
stood silent and stripped of all interior adornment, 
but the leaden roof remained — a prize whereof the 
English officers eagerly possessed themselves. Such 
was the doom of the church which should have been 
to Edinburgh and Scotland what Westminster Abbey 
is to London and England ; for although in 1559 the 
Reformed Commissioners made the nave serve as the 
parish kirk of the Canongate, it was then in a ruinous 
state. In 1570 Adam Both well, Protestant Bishop 
of Orkney, described it as being "thir twentie yeris 
bygane ruinous through decay of twa principall pillars, 
sa that nane was assurit [safe] under it ; and twa 
thousand pounds bestowit upon it wold not be 
sufficient to ease men to the hearing of the word 
and ministration of the sacraments." He went on 
to recommend that the materials of the choir and 
transept should be sold to " faithfull men " to defray 
the cost of repairing the nave, and this nefarious 
advice was carried into effisct. The choir and tran- 
sept wherein, according to the invariable practice, 
was the richest decorative work, were turned to use 
as a quarry ; the tombs of Scottish kings and queens 
lying before the high altar were burst open, and their 
contents thrust indiscriminately into a vault at the 
south-east angle of the nave. 


-"».,■> « 


* J fl • a" 


'« d 

* * 



Throughout the winter of 1559-60 the forces of the 
Old and the New ReUgions were pretty nearly balanced 
in the Scottish Lowlands ; for the superior discipline 
of the troops which the regent, Marie de Guise, had 
obtained from her cousin of France rendered them 
a match for the more numerous levies of the Duke 
of Chatelherault and Lord James Stuart, who were 
in command for the Lords of the Congregation. The 
issue was determined when Lord Grey de Wilton 
led an English force across the Border in April 1560. 
The French army retired into Leith, which at that 
time was strongly fortified, and surrendered after 
standing a siege for two months. This event, coin- 
ciding closely with the death of the Regent Queen 
Marie in June, placed the Reformers in complete 
ascendancy. Parliament met on 1st August and 
passed three short Acts abolishing the authority of 
the Bishop of Rome and prohibiting the mass under 
penalty of death for a third offence in celebrating it. 
John Knox's appointment to the pulpit of St Giles's 
marked out Edinburgh as the true arsenal of the 
Reformation, and drew its citizens into the very 
vortex of the storm. In the convulsion which 
ensued it was inevitable that many objects of in- 
estimable artistic and literary value should perish ; 
and it was the lot of Scotland to suffer more severely 
and irremediably in this respect than any other 
nation in Europe that was affected by the Reforma- 
tion. Despite the proverbial poverty of the Scottish 
lesser gentry and commonalty, the Scottish Church had 


amassed great wealth, both in realty and personalty, 
and she suffered in proportion to her affluence. Yet 
there were constructive, as well as destructive, agencies 
at work during these troubled years. It was then 
that the foundation was laid of a national system 
of education, and Edinburgh began the ascent to 
her subsequent eminence as a seat of letters and 

When Mary Queen of Scots returned, a young 
widow, to her capital in 1561, she found Mr John 
Craig installed as parish minister of the Canongate, 
with John Knox as his colleague in the church of 
St Giles.^ Although little or nothing seems to have 
been done to repair the ruin wrought by Hertford on 
the abbey church, all traces of the damage done by 
his soldiers to the palace had been made good ; so 
much so, that Pierre de Brantome, whom Queen 
Mary brought in her suite, pronounced it to be certes 
un beau bastiment, qui ne tient rien au pays — 
" undoubtedly a fine building, httle in keeping with 
the country." This was high praise from a courtier 
who was familiar with the splendour of Blois and 
Chambord, the sombre majesty of Loches and the 
fantastic grace of Chenonceaux. 

Of the Palace of Holyroodhouse (to give it its 
official designation), as James V. lived in and left it, 
and as Mary Queen of Scots knew it and loathed it, 

1 The octagonal oaken pulpit from which Knox used to preach 
is now preserved in the Scottish National Museum of Antiquities 
in Queen Street. See Plate, p. 300. 









^ • * A 


" J 




•4 V) 





very little now remains. There is still standing the 
north-west tower, usually called after James V., but 
now ascertained to have been part of the palace built 
by James IV. in 1501-03 for the reception of his 
bride, Margaret Tudor. The "foir-werk," or entrance 
court, opening into the Canongate through a vaulted 
Gothic gate-house, was demolished in 1753 — more's 
the pity ! Traces of it may still be seen in the wall- 
ribs of the old Royal Mews, formerly the Abbey 
Court House. The destruction of this picturesque 
" foir-werk " caused a good deal of popular indignation 
even in the eighteenth century, when ancient monu- 
ments were commonly treated with scant respect. 
A broadside was circulated in the city representing 
" Auld Reekie's " angry protest, and foretelling, only 
too truly, further acts of vandalism. 

My Cross, likewise, of old renown 
Will next to you be tumbled down ; 
And by degrees each ancient place 
Will perish by this modern race.^ 

In 1650, after Cromwell's victory at Dunbar, he 
used the palace as a barracks for some of his troops, 
who managed, no doubt accidentally, to burn it 
down, all except James IV. 's tower aforesaid. 
Cromwell caused it to be rebuilt (not as we see it 
now ; that is the sweeping reconstruction by Sir 
William Bruce in 1671-79) ; but, in doing so, the 
tower was deprived of a conspicuous ornament. On 

^ For the subsequent fate of the Cross, see Appendix E, The 
Mercat Cross. 


the front of it were too large panels, in one of which 
were carved the royal arms of Scotland, in the other, 
either those of Margaret Tudor, wife of James IV., 
or of Marie de Guise, wife of James V. Such 
symbols of royalty being an offence in the sight of all 
good Roundheads, the stones were removed by order 
of the English Commissioners sitting at Dalkeith. 
When the Office of Works undertook the renovation 
of the palace in 1906, the stone bearing the royal arms 
of Scotland was by good fortune discovered, hidden 
away in the base of the tower. A new sculpture 
was executed in facsimile, and the arms of Marie 
de Guise having been carved on a corresponding 
stone, both were set up in the vacant panels. 

To return, after this digression, to the proceedings 
of Mary Queen of Scots. Landing at Leith on 
19th August 1561, in a bleak, easterly '* haar," accom- 
panied by her four Marys and a suite of French and 
Scottish gentlemen, she took up residence in Holy rood- 
house, which had been refurnished and decorated for 
her, as the allusive heraldic paintings in the presence 
chamber testify to this day. "Fyres of joy," says 
John Knox, " war sett furth all nyght, and a cumpany 
of the most honest, with instrumentis of musick and 
with musitians, gave thair salutationis at hir chalmer 
wyndo. The melody (as sche alledged) lyked hir 
Weill ; and sche willed the same to be contineued some 
nightis after. "^ Brantome's courtesy, which sufficed 

1 History of the Reformation, by John Knox (^WorkSj vol. ii. 
p. 269). 



This Sculpture has been executed in repHca and placed on the tower with the 
arms of Marie de Guise in the corresponding panel. 


•» *> 

-1 •» 




-3 •« 



to make him express admiration of the palace, was 
not equal to enduring without murmur the barbarous 
strains of fiddles and rebecs. He complained bitterly 
because he could not get to sleep for the dismal dron- 
ing of psalms in the forecourt. Knox, also, changed 
his note when he wished to cast discredit on his 
queen. He interpreted the " haar " or fog which lay 
over sea and land when Mary disembarked as a direct 
symbol of Divine displeasure. 

The verray face of heavin, the time of hir arryvall, did 
manifestlie speak what confort was brought unto this cuntrey 
with hir — to wit, sorow, dolour, darknes and all impietie ; for in 
the memorie of man that day of the year was never seyn a more 
dolorous face of the heavin then was at hir arryvall ; which two 
days after did so contineu. For besides the surfett weat and 
corruptioun of the air, the myst was so thick and so dark, that 
skairse mycht any man espy ane other the lenth of two pair 
of buttis. The sun was not seyn to schyne two dayis befoir, nor 
two dayiss after. That foir-warning gave God unto us ; but 
allace ! the most pairt war blynd. 

The Town Council, loyally anxious to extend the 
customary ceremonial welcome to the monarch enter- 
ing her capital for the first time, held anxious delibera- 
tion as to ways and means. Edinburgh had suffered 
sorely at the hands of the English, trade had been 
very bad, and the Common Good had been largely 
trenched upon in repairing damage to the dwellings 
and defences of the town.* Finally, on 27th August, 
they decided to entertain the queen at a banquet 
and " triumphe," the cost not to exceed 2400 merks 
(£1600), to be defrayed from the Common Good, 


because they were given to understand that to levy 
a special rate on the citizens would " engender 
mwrmur." Howbeit, a rate had to be imposed after 
all, for the bills when collected were found to amount 
to a total of 4000 merks (£2666, 13s. 4d.). 

There cannot have been much genuine mirth in 
these official rejoicings. Times had greatly altered in 
the old city. Men not passed middle age were there 
who in youth had joined the curious throng to see 
Protestants burnt as heretics on the Castle Hill ; and 
here was the late Regent Arran protesting against 
Queen Mary's household being allowed the services 
of a priest, and publishing a proclamation invoking 
the penalty of death upon all, without favour, whether 
Scots or foreigners, who should dare to attend mass. 
On the Sunday after this document appeared Knox 
preached his famous sermon in St Giles's, when, 
referring to the privilege accorded to the queen of 
having mass celebrated in the private chapel at Holy- 
roodhouse, he declared "that one mass was more 
fearful to him than if ten thousand armed enemies 
were landed to suppress the whole religion " — religion, 
in his view, being a term exclusively applicable to 
his version of the Lutheran creed and ritual. 

Queen Mary had been absent from Scotland since 
she was six years old, so she could not retain 
much recollection of the appearance of her capital 
city, else she must have noted many changes therein. 
No priests in their soutanes flitted through the 
streets as of yore, no sandalled monks — Dominicans 


in black and white, Carmelites in brown and white, 
Franciscans in plain brown with knotted rope-girdle. 
The altars in all the churches had been destroyed 
by order of the Lords of the Congregation, with 
ready assent from the city magistrates. The great 
church of the Dominicans or Black Friars, with its 
central tower and spire, had been wrecked and 
plundered by the mob in 1558, and the Town 
Council had appropriated the ruins as a convenient 
quarry. The church of the Grey Friars was still 
standing on the south side of the Grassmarket, once 
so beauteous a building that when Cornelius of 
Zurich was appointed the first master of the monas- 
tery, he demurred, declaring that it was too 
splendid to be consistent with the severity of 
Franciscan rule. But its altars had been destroyed, 
and, probably, the structure greatly defaced in 1558. 
Its architectural glory was finally effaced when it 
was rebuilt in 1612. It was known as Old Grey- 
friars' Church from 1721, when New Grey friars' 
Church was built as an addition to the west end 
of the other. Old Greyfriars' Church was burnt 
down in 1845, rebuilt and reopened in 1857, and 
was the first Established Presbyterian Church to 
resume the use of the organ. 

Externally, the collegiate church of St Giles had 
suffered little or no damage ; for although it was 
inferior in dimensions and richness of ornament to 
the churches of the Grey and Black Friars, it 
possessed a special importance in the eyes of the 


city magistrates as the parish church of Edinburgh.^ 
Within, however, every symbol of the old religion 
had been stripped away. The most deeply venerated 
relic preserved there was the arm of St Giles, which 
William Preston of Gorton, aided by Charles VII. 
of France, recovered with much difficulty and ex- 
pense on the Continent in 1454, and bequeathed to 
the chapter. The Town Council of that day set 
so high a value on the gift, that they undertook to 
build a new aisle to Sir William's memory, "furth 
frae Our Lady isle [sic'] where the said William 
lyis." But the Town Council of 1560 had come to 
consider that " in respect of the godlie ordour now 
taikin in religioun all title and clame to altaris and 
sic vther superstitious pretensis ar and sould be 
abolischit." "The relict callit the arme of Sanct 
Geill " appears, indeed, in the inventory of the spoil 
which they seized, but the only value it possessed 
in their eyes was a diamond ring on one of the 
finger bones. That, and all the rest — gold and 
silver plate, jewels, vestments, etc. — were duly in- 
ventoried and turned to secular account. One of 
the church bells — the Mary bell — and two great 
brazen pillars, which carried coronals of lamps, were 
ordered to be shipped off to Flanders to be cast 
into cannon for the defence of the city. This order, 
however, never was carried out, for in October 1539 

^ It is somewhat remarkable that Edinburgh was never con- 
stituted an episcopal see until Charles I. created the Protestant 
diocese in l636, and made St Giles's the cathedral church. 


the Mary bell, the pillars, and other brasswork of 
the church were knocked down at auction to Adam 
Fullarton for £240 Scots— about £20 sterling. 

When in 1554, Andro Mansioun finished his con- 
tract for furnishing the choir with new stalls, to 
replace those burnt by Lord Hertford in 1544, the 
Town Council were so well pleased with his work- 
manship that they granted him an annuity of £10 
for ten years. But the old order was fast yielding 
place to a new and drastic one; in 1559 Andro 
voluntarily resigned his pension, and the stalls had 
to be removed to the Tolbooth to save them from 
the fury of the Protestant mob. Deacon James 
Barroun was then employed to make " saittis, formes, 
and stulls [seats, forms, and stools] for the peple to 
syt vpoun the tyme of the sermoun." 

Howbeit, despite all that had come and gone, the 
old city received Queen Mary upon her state entry 
on 2nd September with unprecedented splendour. 
Pageants were all the mode, so " quhen sho had dynit 
at tuelf houris, her hienes come furth of the said 
castell [Holyroodhouse] to wart the said burgh, at 
quhilk depairting the artailzerie schot vehementlie," ^ 
and thereafter her progress was one long series of 
emblems, pageants, and presentation of long ad- 
dresses. The " propyne " or gift of the Town Council 
was a heavy piece of furniture, richly gilt, which cost 
2000 merks. It was conveyed to the palace in a 
waggon, wherein was also a group of children, who, 

^ Diurnal of OccurrentSj p. 67. 


says the unknown author of the Diurnal "maid 
some speitche concernyng the putting away of the 
mess [mass] " (which was touching deHcate matter), 
** and thairefter sang ane psalme." 

It has been said above that the purpose and action 
of the Scottish Reformers was far from being merely 
destructive ; the suppression of the Popish rehgion 
was, of course, their primary object, but they es- 
teemed as almost equally urgent the diffusion of 
knowledge by the establishment of a sound system 
of national education. The Book of Discipline^ drawn 
up by the Protestant clergy assembled in Edinburgh 
in April 1560, not only provided a constitution for the 
Reformed Church, but contained a detailed scheme 
for the maintenance of a school in every parish and a 
college in every " notable toun " in the realm. Al- 
though this remarkable document never received, in 
its entirety, legislative sanction, yet so earnestly did 
the burghal communities of Scotland crave for secular 
instruction, that effect was given to a large part of 
the clergy's demand, thereby securing the people of 
Scotland a long start over their English neighbours 
in the matter of education. And whereas the appoint- 
ment of John Knox to the High Kirk (which was 
the new name for St Giles's Church) caused Edinburgh 
to become the very core and vortex of the Scottish 
Reformation, the city records afford abundant evi- 
dence of the fervour with which the Town Council 
sought to promote the education of the young. In 
April 1561, four months before the return of Queen 


From the Panel Portrait (French School) recently acquired by the National 

Portrait Gallery 

«« 1 


• ' ''a** • it 


* ^i'*"*"-''.^" 


Mary, they resolved that the rents of Church property 
within the city, hitherto applied to the maintenance 
of " papists, preistis, freris [friars], monkis, nonis and 
vtheris of that wikit sort," should be applied to " sus- 
teyning of the trew ministerris of Goddis Word 
founding and biging [building] of hospitalis for the 
pure [poor] and coUeigis for leirnyng [teaching] and 
vbring of youth." 

In August 1562 they carried their design further 
by drawing up a petition to the queen, praying, inter 
alia, for a grant of the lands of Greyfriars for a 
cemetery, of Kirk-o'-Field for a college, and of 
Blackfriars for a hospital. In this petition there is 
one notable sentence which, rendered in modern 
script, runs thus : 

Whereas it is not unknown to Your Highness that the 
common order whereby men attain to serve the common weal 
of their country comes by letters, learning, and sciences, which 
cannot be obtained but by learning at schools, which for the 
most part do in all parts decay, so that no regard is had thereto, 
and the youth thereby brought to such barbarous ignorance 
that lamentably it is to be regretted. 

Queen Mary responded at once by granting Grey- 
friars for a cemetery, and promising sites for the 
proposed hospital and college so soon as funds had 
been provided for their erection. Accordingly, in 
1567 the Town Council received from the Crown a 
grant of Trinity Church and Hospital at the foot of 
Leith Wynd, and there they built a new hospital for 
indigent burgesses and their families. There it stood 
until 1845, when both church and hospital were 


demolished to make way for the North British 
Railway. At that time the hospital, which in 
England might have been called an alms-house, 
contained forty-two inmates, each receiving a pen- 
sion of ten shillings a week, besides a great number 
of out-pensioners, all indigent burgesses or their 

On the site of Blackfriars Church and Monastery 
the Town Council built the High School, an institu- 
tion which has fulfilled nobly the utmost expecta- 
tion of its founders. In 1777 the number of scholars 
had far outstripped the capacity of the old building, 
and a new one was built. This, in turn, having 
proved insufficient for the wants of a rapidly increas- 
ing population, a fresh site was chosen on the south 
side of the Calton Hill, where the present fine build- 
ing, designed by Thomas Hamilton, was opened in 
1829. There is still preserved here a stone brought 
from the original building in Blackfriars, carved with 
the city arms, the crown and initials of James VI., 
and the legend : 


The monasteries of the Grey Friars and the Black 
Friars having been laid in ruins by the English in 
1544, the Town Council had nothing to do but take 
peaceful possession of them for their hospital and 
high school ; but it was otherwise with the third 
site granted them for the erection of a college or 
university. This was the collegiate church of Our 


Lady in the Fields, commonly called Kirk-o'-Field. 
The church, indeed, had been burnt down, but the 
monastic buildings remained with a Provost in 
residence. It is to the credit of the Reformers that, 
while the corporate property of the Church of Rome 
was confiscated, the life interest of individuals was 
scrupulously respected, at least in Edinburgh. Thus, 
although John Knox was incumbent of the High 
Kirk, the Town Council rented a house for him in 
the Nether Bow, because the Close of St Giles was 
still inhabited by priests or their tenants. But before 
founding their University, the Council had to negotiate 
with the Provost of Kirk-o'-Field for the purchase of 
his life interest. This he agreed to surrender for £1000 
Scots (£83, 6s. 8d. sterling) ; but before the transac- 
tion could be concluded, public affairs had taken a 
sinister turn, and men had their attention absorbed 
by graver matters than education. Very summarily 
they must be dealt with here, as pertaining to the 
general history of Scotland. 

Hitherto Queen Mary had relied greatly on the 
guidance of her Protestant half-brother, the Earl of 
Moray ;^ but he forfeited her confidence by strenu- 
ously opposing her marriage with Henry, Lord 
Darnley, to prevent which he took the field with 
6000 troops and was proclaimed a rebel. The 
marriage took place under dispensation from the 
Pope between five and six in the morning of 29th 

^ Natural son of James V., by Janet, daughter of John, Lord 


July 1565, in the Roman Catholic Chapel of Holy- 
roodhouse. Thenceforward all semblance of concord 
between the Court and the Kirk was at an end. 

Vpoun the xvj day of August the King ^ come to Sanct-gellis 
Kirk to the preitching, and Johne Knox preachit ; quhairat he 
was crabbit, and causit dischairge the said Johne of his 

It is not surprising that Darnley, who occupied a 
throne erected for the occasion, was "crabbit," for 
Knox chose for his subject the wickedness of certain 
princes, and made disagreeable reference to "Ahab 
and that harlot Jezebel." Darnley rose and left 
the church in disgust ; Knox was summoned before 
the Privy Council, and suspended from preaching 
so long as the king and queen were at Holyrood. 
The Town Council received a royal command to 
depose their Provost, Archibald Douglas of Kil- 
spindie, son of old " Greysteil " and grandson of 
*' Bell-the-Cat," and to elect in his place Sir Simon 
Preston of Craigmillar. Douglas relieved the Council 
of the duty of deposing him by voluntarily resigning, 
and Preston was placed in office ; but the Council 
unanimously refused to consent that Knox's 
"mouth should be closit or he be dischairged in 
preiching the trew word." 

A collision between the Court and the city was 
averted for a time by the departure of the queen and 
king on the " Roundabout Raid " in pursuit of the 

^ Henry, Lord Darnley. He was nominally a Protestant. 
2 Diurnal of Occurrents. 












rebel Moray.^ On 31st August Moray and the other 
rebel lords rode into Edinburgh with a body of 
cavalry ; but Alexander Erskine, Captain of the 
Castle, opened fire upon the town, which caused them 
to depart next day. Moray was a great favourite 
with the citizens, who twice submitted to be fined 
£1000 rather than bear arms against him. Moreover, 
the city was forced to contribute 10,000 merks to 
the expenses of the Roundabout Raid, receiving in 
return a grant of the superiority of Leith — the 
promise of a grant, rather, seeing that Queen Mary 
found it necessary, owing to financial difficulties, to 
defer fulfilment of the bargain until it was too late, 
owing to her forced abdication. The Town Council, 
therefore, took the law into their own hands. On 
4th July 1567, headed by the Provost and followed 
by the craftsmen of Edinburgh fully armed, they 
marched down to Leith and took possession of the 
town and harbour, thereby enforcing their superiority. 
This was duly recognised until 1833, when Leith was 
constituted an independent burgh by the Borough 
Reform Act of that year. 

After the return of the Court to Holyrood the 
Town Council honourably endeavoured to continue 
the traditional friendly relations with it. At Christ- 
mastide they presented the king and queen with 

* "Vpon the xxvj. day of August our soueranis departit of Edin- 
burgh with the haill cumpany to the west pairtis [parts] to dant the 
erle of Murray and his assistaris following, and tuke with them sex 
pecis of artailzerie " (^Diurnal of Occurrenls). 



three tuns of the best new wine, " with torches and 
prikettis after the auld ordour." They received a 
sorry return for their gift. Not content with having 
already wounded the dignity of the magistrates by 
compelhng them to accept Preston as their provost, 
Queen Mary (for King Henry was but a cipher in 
affairs of State), acting under the influence of 
Romanist advisers, directed that the town clerk, 
Alexander Guthrie, an active presbyterian, should 
be " put to the horn," Le, outlawed, and commanded 
the Town Council to appoint in his place the young 
papist, David Chalmers, whom she had made a privy 
councillor and a judge of the Court of Session in 
January 1565.^ The Council demurred ; but they 
had to yield, under threat of outlawry and forfeiture 
of all their property. 

It was a costly triumph for the Court party. 
Hitherto the citizens of Edinburgh had ever been 
among the most loyal of subjects, and none of the 
Stuart kings, with all their manifold errors, had 
been so ill-advised as to trample on their rights. 
In the coming troubles. Queen Mary was to stand 
sorely in need of the goodwill of the community 
which her counsellors had caused her so grievously 
to offend. 

The said troubles now began to come thick and 
fast, causing the City Fathers to abandon for the 
nonce their project of founding a University. On 

1 His law title was Lord Ormond. He was afterwards de- 
nounced as one of Bothwell's accomplices in the murder of Darnley. 


9th March 1566 David Riccio was seized in the 
queen's presence by King Henry and a number of his 
friends, and done to death in the adjoining room of 
Holyroodhouse ; the queen being closely confined 
thereafter in the palace till the 11th at midnight, 
when she rode with the king to Dunbar. 

Next came the shameful tragedy of the Kirk-o'- Field 
— a crime which, because of the direful suspicion of 
Queen Mary's foreknowledge of her husband's doom, 
has attracted closer scrutiny and been the theme of 
more literature than any other event in Scottish 
history. That being so, in these pages no more 
than passing reference to the bare facts need be 

In the early days of January 1567^ King Henry 
(or as he is more familiarly known, Lord Darnley) 
lay ill in Glasgow, probably with smallpox. Thither 
went Queen Mary about the 21st of the month, and 
on the 27th she started with her convalescent husband 
for Edinburgh. They travelled by easy stages, and 
arrived on the 30th. But Darnley was not taken 
to Holyroodhouse. They, that is the queen and 
Bothwell, persuaded him that it would hasten his 
recovery to sojourn in the old house of Kirk-o'-Field, 
in which Mary had caused a bedroom to be furnished 
for him on the first floor. She spent much time with 
her husband on each of the remaining days of his 

^ I have used throughout the notation of years according to the 
New Style. By the Old Style this would be January 1566, the 
new year beginning in March. 




life. She even slept some nights in the room im- 
mediately beneath his. But not on Sunday, 9th 
February. She had promised to attend the wedding 
masque of her servant Bastian at Holyrood that 
night ; so she sat with Henry for some hours during 
the evening. And while she so sat, shadowy 
figures were moving to and fro in the garden — 
Bothwell, the two Ormistons, young Hay of Talk, 
Hepburn of Bowton, Both well's valet Dalgleish and 
his porter Powrie — stuffing the queen's room on the 
ground floor full of gunpowder. This done, Bothwell 
went upstairs to Darnley's room, and the queen rode 
off to Holyrood about nine o'clock, with men carry- 
ing torches before her. Bothwell attended the fete 
at the palace, but, leaving at midnight, returned 
home, changed his clothes and went out again. All 
is obscure after this, save that at two o'clock in the 
morning of the 10th, the house of Kirk-o'-Field was 
blown up and the bodies of Darnley and his page 
were found in the garden. Whether, as some 
believed, they had been strangled before the ex- 
plosion, or whether they had been blown up while 
still alive with the house, is a secret defying human 
scrutiny. All that is certain is that a crime of 
singular ferocity, even for that bloody age, was 
committed ; and the horror of it is deepened by the 
strong suspicion implicating one who, for the honour 
of womanhood, it were well if she could be left out 
of account altogether. 

In treating of Edinburgh city at this period it is 


more difficult than ever to avoid straying into the 
general history of Scotland, so incessantly do the lead- 
ing actors come and go between town and country. 
Darnley's life had been as much an obstacle to good 
civil governance as Queen Mary's infatuation for 
Both well was to her fair fame. Neither was, nor 
could be, re-established by the deadly doings in Kirk- 
o'-Field. On 24th April 1567 Mary, riding from 
Stirling to Edinburgh, allowed herself to be waylaid 
and abducted by Bothwell. So, at least, Sir James 
Melville, more trustworthy than most writers of the 
period, and a loyal adherent of Queen Mary, says 
he was informed by Captain Blackadder, who took 
him prisoner as he rode in the queen's suite with 
Lethington and Huntly.^ She remained in Bothwell's 
keeping at Dunbar until 6th May, while the shame- 
less proceedings for his divorce were being smuggled 
through the Protestant and Roman Catholic courts 
simultaneously. On 3rd May the civil court pro- 
nounced sentence of divorce on the ground of Bothwell 
having committed adultery ; the ecclesiastical court 
followed on the 7th with a similar decree, with the 
addition necessary to justify divorce according to the 
laws of the Church of Rome — that the offence had 
been committed before his marriage with a near kins- 
woman of his wife. Meanwhile, the queen and 
Bothwell had returned to Edinburgh, making a 
state entry on 6th May. On the 9th their banns 
were proclaimed in the High Church by Knox's 

1 Melville's Memoirs, p. 177. 


colleague John Craig, who, while discharging a duty 
which he could not legally refuse, had the courage 
also to discharge his mind by protesting to the 
congregation that ** he abhorred and detested the 
marriage." On 15th May the marriage ceremony, 
justly referred to by Teulet as cette funeste union, 
was performed by the protestant Bishop of Orkney 
in the Chapel of Holyroodhouse. 

Meanwhile, Morton, Atholl, Glencairn, Mar, and 
other lords had been negotiating with Queen 
Elizabeth to have Mary's infant crowned James VI. 
Their headquarters were at Stirling, Edinburgh being 
held by Both well's people. But so soon as the 
queen and her consort moved to Borthwick Castle, 
Atholl occupied Edinburgh, marched to Borthwick, 
and invested it on the night of 10-1 1th June. Both- 
well, forewarned, escaped. Next night. Queen Mary, 
disguised as a young man, followed him. The lords 
issued a proclamation charging Bothwell with being 
the murderer of Darnley (some of them, as his 
accomplices, were well able to judge of this) and of 
using unlawful means to constrain the queen. Mary 
answered by marching upon Edinburgh with Both- 
well's forces — some 2000 strong, — and on 15th June 
held a defensive position on Carberry Hill, the lords 
moving along the Esk with a somewhat superior 
force.^ The French Ambassador, Du Croc, attempted 

^ The French captain of Inchkeith reporting to Du Croc, states 
the queen's army to have numbered 2000, that of the lords 2600 
(Teulet's Pieces et Documents, ii. l63, l66). 


to bring them to terms, and, failing, rode off to 
Edinburgh. Mary would not allow Bothwell to 
accept Tullibardine's challenge to decide matters by 
single combat, Bothwell, therefore, saved his head 
by ingloriously galloping off* to Dunbar with a dozen 
of his friends. By this time the royalist ranks had 
been decimated, not by weapons of war, but by 
desertion — men going off* by twos and threes in search 
of food. There was nothing left for the beautiful 
Queen of Scots but surrender. She rode, a captive, 
into Edinburgh. Of all the sorrowful sights that 
had been witnessed in that city, surely this was the 
saddest. In the long-lingering summer gloaming 
the cavalcade passed slowly through the crowded 
Canongate, under the Nether Bow and up the High 
Street. The throng of spectators was silent. Many 
must have been moved to compassion for that forlorn 
figure, travel-stained and humbly clad. They had 
seen her often splendidly and tastefully attired ; she 
had left all her finery when she escaped from Borth- 
wick Castle in a man's dress ; now she made her last 
entry into her capital in clothes she had borrowed in 
Dunbar ^ — a red skirt that came little below the knees, 
for she was tall, and a cloak of taffeta. They lodged 
her in the Provost's house opposite the Cross. From 
a window next day she appealed with tears to people 
in the street to succour her — to the traitor Lethington, 

^ " Elle estoil abill6e d'une cotte rouge qui ne lui venoyt que a 
demie de la jambe, et [avoyt] enprunte ung tourniche k . . . avec 
un tafetaz pardessus" (Teulet, ii. l62). 


among others. The lords, fearing a rising, removed 
her to Holyroodhouse under escort of two hundred 
soldiers, the white banner, whereon was painted 
Darnley's murder, being displayed before her. There- 
after she was hurried off to Lochleven, never to be 
seen in her capital again. 

The Town Council were now as far as ever from 
obtaining the Kirk-o'-Field site for the proposed 
University. Penicuke, Provost of the Collegiate 
Church, with whom they had negotiated the purchase, 
had died before it could be concluded. His successor, 
Robert Balfour, was one of Bothwell's creatures, and 
as all Queen Mary's acts were now subject to infatua- 
tion for her husband's murderer, it may be inferred 
that in the charter whereby, a few weeks after the 
crime, she conveyed to the Town Council possession 
of all the lands and houses belonging to " whatsoever 
churches, chapels or colleges within the liberty of our 
said town of Edinburgh," the omission of any mention 
of the church property of Kirk-o'-Field was due to 
Bothwell's unwillingness to interfere with the life 
interest of Balfour, whom he dared not offend.^ But 
the Town Council never relinquished its high purpose. 

^ Twelve years later, in 1579, Balfour was tried and convicted 
with others as accessory to the murder of Darnley and the two 
regents. He was forfeited and put to the horn ; but the sentence 
was remitted in 1584 on condition that he made no claim to be 
restored to the Provostry of Kirk-o'-Field, which, being no longer 
an ecclesiastical office, had been bestowed in 1579 on John Gib, a 
valet of the king's chamber. Such was Scottish criminal justice in 
the sixteenth century ! 


Through all the distracting years which followed they 
kept it in view — the year when Queen Mary was 
forced to abdicate (1567) ; when the Regent Moray 
was assassinated (1570) ; when his successor Regent 
Lennox was done to death at Stirling (1571) ; when 
John Knox, chief moving spirit in matters educational, 
was laid to unwonted rest in the kirkyard of St Giles 
(1572) ; when gallant Kirkcaldy of Grange was put 
to a felon's death on the gibbet at the Mercat Cross 
(1573), after holding the Castle for Queen Mary 
against four successive regents for more than five 
years ; when, finally, James Douglas, Earl of Morton, 
strongest of these four regents, suffered death by " The 
Maiden" in the Grassmarket (1581).^ All through 
these disheartening, bloodstained years these Edin- 
burgh bailies kept their laudable purpose quietly 
before them, until at last, in 1582, they obtained a 
charter of the church property in Kirk- o'-Field from 
James VI., then a precocious stripling of sixteen. 
They set to work at once to furnish and equip the 
old college buildings, and in October 1583 the infant 
University opened its doors with a teaching staff 
consisting of the rector and one assistant. Not the 
least singular fact in connection with the foundation 
of " oure tounis Colledge," as it was proudly spoken 
of, is that, being one of the earliest results of the 
Reformation, it should owe the chief part of its 
original endowment to a bequest of 8000 merks 
(£5333, 6s. 8d.) by Robert Reid, Roman Catholic 

1 See Appendix F, " The Maiden." 


Bishop of Orkney and Abbot of Kinloss, who died 
in 1558. Unfortunately, the money had remained in 
the hands of the bishop's nephew, Walter Reid, 
Abbot of Kinloss, from 1558 till 1581, and the Town 
Council were able to recover only 2500 merks 
(£1666, 13s. 4d.) of the bequest. But the testator's 
intention was sufficiently clear to absolve him from 
John Knox's ungenerous imputation that in his last 
illness **he caused maik his bed betuix his two 
cofFeris (some said upoun thame), such was his god, 
the gold that tharin was inclosed, that he could not 
departe therefra so long as memorie wold serve him." ^ 
Besides this posthumous benefaction. Bishop Reid 
had spent large sums during his life, on Kirkwall 
Cathedral, the church of Beauly, and the abbey of 
Kinloss, and founded a college in Kirkwall for the 
teaching of grammar and philosophy. 

More money was essential to set the thing going, 
but it would never have gone forward had the Town 
Council and leading citizens not been earnest in their 
resolution to have higher education. From the ter- 
ritorial aristocracy they received no help whatever. 
** We ascribe," wrote Mr John Harrison at the 
tercentenary of the University, '* to the University of 
Edinburgh the noblest of ' fathers ' when we say that 
we believe that the real authors of its being were 
John Knox, and the stout, upright, hard-working, 
God-fearing men who then managed the affairs of 
the town of Edinburgh in its Kirk and Council." 

1 Knox's Works, i. 2. 


When one considers how many individuals of far 
less achievement have been commemorated by 
statues and flatulent inscriptions in our streets and 
churches, it seems strange that the place w^here John 
Knox's remains lie v^^as distinguished by no mark or 
memorial of any kind, until the late David Laing 
persuaded the Town Council to lay a stone in the 
pavement of Parliament Square, engraved with the 
initials "I. K. 1572." Had a fuller epitaph been 
desired, none more fitting could have been devised 
than the words spoken by Regent Morton over the 
grave of this, the most intrepid of Scottish Reformers : 
" Here lies one who never feared the face of man I " 

The memory of one who, politically, became the 
sworn foe of Knox, has fared better at the hands of a 
later generation. On the wall near the inner gate of 
the Castle is a tablet which no true Scot, be his creed 
or politics what they may, should pass without a 
tribute of respect, for it commemorates one of the 
most chivalrous knights that ever donned harness — 
Sir WilUam Kirkcaldy of Grange. Even Knox him- 
self — and none knew better than he to reverence merit 
in friend or foe — even Knox, I say, though in the 
heat of controversy he once denounced Kirkcaldy as 
a " murderer and throat-cutter," sent him a message 
from his deathbed, " for," said he, " the soul of that 
man is dear to me, and I would fain have him to be 
saved." Sir James Melville described Kirkcaldy as 
" humble, gentle and meek, like a lamb in the house 
and like a lion in the field, a lusty, stark and well- 


proportioned personage, hardy, and of magnanimous 
courage." ^ 

During the first hundred years of its existence the 
College or nascent University displayed but slight 
promise of taking high rank among the world's seats 
of learning. The times were too stormy — the con- 
vulsions of Church and State too frequent and 
violent — to be favourable to study. Eppur si muove ! 
While churchmen thundered anathema at each other 
— while Royalist and Roundhead — Cavalier and 
Covenanter — filled the land with noise and wreck, 
busy intellects were quietly at work, undermining the 
triple fortress of dogma, empiricism, and superstition. 
While the nation was writhing in the birth-pangs of 
constitutional liberty, a little band of experimental 
philosophers — Galileo, Francis Bacon, Robert Harvey, 
I iCibnitz, Isaac Newton, and the rest — were laying, 
stone by stone, the foimdation of a system that should 
compel the allegiance of every civilised nation. 
Within the little quadrangle at Kirk-o -Field were 
found men prepared to take their share in the 

Hitherto the craft of healing in Edinburgh had 
been directed by the Guild of Chirurgeon- Barbers, 
established by royal charter in 1505, whereof the 
deacon had a seat ex officio on the Town Council.* 
Although surgeons and barbers did not part company 

1 Melville's Memoirs^ p. 257. 

2 The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh recognise their 
foundation in this charter of 1 505. 


as a guild till 1722, it had come to be pretty generally 
acknowledged in the course of the previous century 
that the training which qualified a man to trim a 
a beard differed somewhat from that enabling him to 
stem a fever or set a broken limb. The distinction 
between medical and surgical science first received 
formal recognition in 1681, when, through the 
exertions of the rival practitioners Sir Robert Sibbald 
and Dr Archibald Pitcairn, the Royal College of 
Physicians of Edinburgh received its charter. Sibbald 
deserves to be remembered further, inasmuch as it 
was he who formed a physic garden on a small patch 
granted him within the palace grounds of Holyrood. 
This was afterwards extended when he obtained 
from the Town Council a grant of the garden of 
Trinity Hospital, the site now covered by the 
Waverley railway station. 

Stimulated, partly by the example of the sister 
science, partly by the light thrown by Harvey on 
the circulation of the blood, the venerable Guild 
of Chirurgeon- Barbers obtained a new charter in 
1684 constituting them the Royal College of Sur- 
geons of Edinburgh. In 1697 they built a new 
hall, afterwards incorporated in the old Royal 
Infirmary, where lectures on anatomy were delivered 
to students. The real rise of the Medical School 
dates from 1720, when Alexander Monro, lecturer 
in the Surgeons' Hall, was appointed by the Town 
Council Professor of Anatomy in the University, 
receiving a salary of £15. Five years later they 


gave him a "theatre for dissections" within the 
college buildings ; thenceforward his lectures were 
delivered there instead of in the Surgeons' Hall. 
In the following year the Town Council appointed 
two Professors of Medicine and two others of 
Medicine and Chemistry, and these persons, having 
hitherto lectured alternately with Monro in the 
Surgeons' Hall, were permitted to follow him into 
the new theatre, with power to grant degrees. The 
faculty was made complete by the appointment of 
a Professor of Midwifery, the first Professor of 
Obstetrics appointed in Europe. One thing was 
yet wanting to complete the Medical School — the 
acquirement of a "teaching" hospital. The diffi- 
culty of raising funds for the purpose seemed in- 
superable at first, for Edinburgh was a city of no 
more than 30,000 inhabitants, the capital of a 
kingdom which, once proverbial for its poverty, 
was only beginning to recover from the exhaustion 
of four centuries of almost incessant warfare ; but 
George Drummond, who was six times elected 
Provost of Edinburgh, and Alexander Monro afore- 
said, laboured so successfully in collecting money 
for the purpose, that a small house was opened to 
receive patients in 1729. In 1736 George II. 
granted a charter for the Royal Infirmary, and in 
1738 the foundation-stone was laid of the handsome 
building which still dignifies the ancient site of Black- 
friars Monastery beyond the east end of Chambers 
Street ; but which, although providing 228 beds and 


a theatre of operations to accommodate 200 students, 
in turn proved too small for growing requirements. 
Consequently, in 1870 the spacious edifice now 
known as the Royal Infirmary was begun on land 
in Lauriston belonging to George Watson s Hospital, 
and was finished in 1879. 

In like manner as the Old Infirmary had to be 
abandoned for ample premises, so, before the end of 
the eighteenth century, the growing fame of Edinburgh 
as a centre of medical education had attracted far 
more students than could receive instruction in the 
old college buildings of Kirk-o'-Field. Not that the 
Medical School was the only attraction ; the Art and 
Law faculties were as fully equipped as the others, and 
Edinburgh in the latter half of the century acquired 
a literary reputation extending far beyond the limits 
of the realm. Students in the classics, natural and 
moral philosophy, humanity, mathematics, law, etc., 
were nearly as numerous as those in the medical 
faculties.^ In 1762 William Robertson, divine and 
historian, was appointed Principal, which office he 
discharged for thirty years, raising the University 
to that pitch of efficiency and reputation which it 
has retained ever since. His life was near a close 
before he saw the wish of his heart in the first 
stage of fulfilment when, in 1789, a start was made 
with the building, designed by Robert Adam, which 
was to take the place of the old college. Money, 

1 The total number of students in 1768 was between 500 and 
600 : it had risen to 1279 in 1791, and to 2182 in 1821. 


as usual, was hard to come by ; George III. made 
a gift of £5000, Parliament voted a similar sum in 
1801, and, the st^-ain of the great war notwithstand- 
ing, £10,000 more in 1815 ; but it was not till 1827 
that the old college library, last remnant of the 
original Kirk-o' -Field quadrangle, was demolished, 
and the New University Buildings, as we know 
them, stood complete. 

This outline of the rise of Edinburgh University 
has carried us far from the days of James VI., to 
which we have presently to return. To enumerate 
the great names associated with the University of 
Edinburgh would far exceed the scope of this volume : 
to mention a few of them would be invidious ; but 
whereas Alexander Monro has been indicated as the 
true father of the Medical School, it may be noted as 
remarkable that he, his son and his grandson, each 
named Alexander, occupied the chair of medicine, 
anatomy and surgery, in uninterrupted succession from 
1720 to 1846.' 

One other name it may be permitted to mention — 
that of Sir James Simpson, the famous obstetrician — 
were it only because of a bon viot attributed to him. 
He was the first to employ chloroform to relieve 
the pains of childbirth, an innovation against which 
certain of the " unco gude " of Edinburgh protested, 

1 These three Alexanders are not to be confused with Dr Alex- 
ander Munro who was appointed Principal of the University in 
l685, but was compelled to resign in 1687 owing to his adherence 
to the cause of James II. This divine does not appear to have been 
related to the medical professors. 

o.:^Zf '^Jm/if^yj :/^/jtr//^/r^raA/ifr- 

• • • ( 

• • • 

»•• • 

• , J • • • 

The Rev. WM, ROBERTSON. D.D. _., 

From Kay's Edinburgh Portraits. 

.1 «\, 


because God, in expelling Eve from Paradise, had 
said : " I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy 
conception: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth 
children." " I know," Simpson is said to have 
answered, **but I have also read that before God 
took a rib out of Adam's side he cast him into a 
deep sleep I " 



It was on 19th June 1566, in the old Castle of the 
Maidens, that Queen Mary bore her son, a Child of 
Wrath, but least warlike of the house of Stuart. The 
doom that dogged the dynasty still prevailed, for 
a year and a month had just sped when, after the 
abdication of his mother, he was crowned King of 
Scots as James VI. In 1570 George Buchanan, one 
of Queen Mary's most virulent accusers, was ap- 
pointed tutor to the king by Act of Council, and 
continued his principal instructor until the pupil was 
twelve years old. At that age James nominally 
assumed the government ; perhaps the effects of 
Buchanan's education, acting upon a character 
naturally shrewd and cautious, may be traced in 
James's policy of balancing the turbulent Catholic 
nobles against the tyrannical preachers, and, while 
abstaining from any act that might alienate the 
hopes and sympathy of the French Court, cultivating 
the good graces of his cousin Elizabeth for all they 
were worth — and they were worth much, as time 
was to show. 

When conflicting factions were not to be reconciled 
James could show an unexpected measure of firmness, 



as at the coronation of his queen, Anne of Denmark, 
at Holyrood in 1589. The preachers objected to the 
anointing as a Jewish or Popish ceremony ; where- 
upon the king declared he would send for a bishop. 
The threat prevailed : Mr Robert Bruce, one of the 
most powerful and truculent of Edinburgh ministers, 
discharged the function required. Bruce remained in 
high favour with the king for several years, but at 
last he came into violent collision with the royal will. 
James had appointed 5th August 1600 as a day of 
annual thanksgiving for his escape from the Gowrie 
conspiracy, and required the Edinburgh ministers to 
preach thereon according to his version of the story. 
Now there was a belief current in many quarters 
that, so far from the plot having been laid by the 
Ruthvens to entrap the king, it was one by the king 
to destroy the whole brood of Ruthvens, whose 
father, the Earl of Gowrie, had been executed for 
treason in 1584. The Ruthven family being all 
that was most Presbyterian, five of the Edinburgh 
ministers declined to accept the king's statement or 
to express belief in it from their pulpits. Of these 
five, Robert Bruce was the most conspicuous, being 
far and away the most popular preacher of the day. 
The king resolved to make an example of him. 
Bruce was suspended from preaching by royal 
command and was banished from Edinburgh. 

In truth, the tyrrany and intolerance of the 
ministers had become incompatible with secular 
government. It had grown to be a question whether 


the Crown or the Kirk should rule the nation, and 
King James is entitled to credit for the firm line 
he took with the preachers. Unfortunately, it is im- 
possible to contemplate without loathing the active 
part he took in the persecution of witches. Not only 
did he take the most curious interest in the fantastic 
confessions extorted from the victims brought before 
him at Holyroodhouse, but he seems to have found 
a morbid relish in the ingenuity of the torments 
applied to extract such confessions. For example, 
in a contemporary tract describing the trial of Doctor 
Fian or Cuninghame, it is stated that his confessions 
*' made the king in wonderful admiration, who in 
respect of the strangeness of these maters, took great 
delight to be present at their examinations." And 
what was the nature of these examinations ? First, 
a rope was put round Fian's head and twisted, 
" beeing a payne most grevous continued almost an 
bower " ; next day he was put in the boots, a dread- 
ful torture by which the flesh and bones of the leg 
were torn and crushed in the most horrible manner. 
The anguish having caused the wretched creature to 
declare he would confess, he was taken before the 
king, and his confession was taken down. Next day 
he retracted — 

Whereupon the King's Majestie, perceiving his stubborne 
willfulnesse, conceived and imagined that, in the time of his 
absence, hee had entered into newe conference and league with 
the Devill his maister . . . yet for more tryall of him, to make 
him confesse, hee was commanded to have a most straunge 
torment, which was done in the manner following. His nailes 


upon all his fingers were riven and pulled off with an instrument 
called in Scottish a Turkas, which in England wee call a payre 
of pincers, and under everie nayle there was thrust in two needels 
even up to the heads. At all which torments notwithstanding, 
the Doctor never shranke anie whit; neither woulde he then 
confesse it the sooner, for all the tortures inflicted upon him. 
Then was he with all convenient speede, by commandement con- 
vaied againe to the torment of the bootes, wherein he continued 
a long time, and did abide so many blowes in them that his 
legges were ciusht and beaten together as small as might bee ; 
and the bones and flesh so brused that the bloud and marrow 
spouted forth in great abundance ; whereby they were made 
unserviceable for ever. And notwithstanding all these grievous 
paines and cruel torments, hee would not confesse anie things. 
So deeply had the Devill entered into his heart that hee utterly 
denied all that which he before avouched.^ 

The Justiciary Records of the period show that in 
this, as in scores of other cases of persons, mostly 
women, accused of witchcraft, the end was the same, 
whether the victim made a confession or not — namely, 
to be burnt on the Castle Hill. There would be no 
excuse for recalling these horrors to mind, were it 
possible, without going into revolting details, to give 
a just impression of social and legal Edinburgh 
immediately after the Reformation. The religion of 
Rome had been rejected and its doctrines repudiated 
as superstitious ; yet the very men who had been 
leaders and chief agents in the revolt retained and 
fostered a superstition more gross — more dishonour- 
ing to intelligence — than the practices they had 
spurned ; so that clergy and laity alike remained 
slaves to this evil heritage from the dark ages. It 

1 Pitcairn's Criminal Trials^ vol. i. part ii. pp. 221-23. 


increased in virulence in proportion to the intensity 
of Presbyterian fervour, affording the most painful 
and inexplicable phenomenon of the Scottish Reforma- 
tion. Nicoll wrote as follows in his diary for 1658 : 

Burning of witches and warlocks were maist frequent. In 
Februar twa women and ane man were prisoners for this crime 
in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh. One of the women died in the 
prison ; the warlock was worrjit at the stake on the Castlehill. 
The other woman, Jonet Anderson, wha had only been married 
three months before, confessit [under torture, no doubt] that 
she had given hersel, bodie and soul, to the devil, and that at 
her wedding she saw Satan standing in the kirk ahint the 
pulpit. ... In the August the same year four women, ane of 
them a maiden, were burnt on the Castlehill, all confessing the 
sin of witchcraft. Two months later five women belonging to 
Dunbar were burnt on the Castlehill together, all confessing . . . 
while a week or two later nine witches from the parish of 
Tranent all dyed in Edinburgh with the like confessions on 
their lips. Yet, despite all this, the clergy were not satisfied, 
and complained : " There is much witchery up and down our 
land ; the English be but too sparing to try it, though some 
they execut." ^ 

* It must not be supposed that these atrocities were confined to 
Edinburgh. Wheresoever the judges held an assize in this gloomy 
century, there some wretched women would be haled before them 
to be tried and condemned on the most preposterous charges. For 
instance, on 2nd April l659, ten women were tried as witches 
before two judges at Dumfries. Nine were convicted and sentenced 
to be strangled and burnt. Against the tenth the verdict of the 
jury was *' not proven/' but she was sentenced to banishment from 
the parish. The Presbytery appointed eight ministers ^^ to attend 
the nine witches . . . also that they be assisting to the brethren 
of Dumfries and Galloway the day of the execution." The statutes 
against witchcraft were not repealed till 1735, by an Act which the 
Synod of the Secession Church denounced ofl&cially as a measure 
invoking divine displeasure. 


" Trying it " was a euphemism for the most 
devilish tortures. 

It was not necessary to practise the black art in 
order to incur inhuman punishment. Words lightly 
spoken in mixed company were quite enough if 
reported in the proper quarter. The following ex- 
tract from the Records of the Edinburgh Tolbooth, 
or gaol, contains a case in point : 

May 26th, 1671.— Fforasmuch as Marrion M'^cauU spouse to 
Adame Reid in Machline being fund guilty by ane assyse of 
drinking the good health of the divell and all his servantis in 
nianer contanit in ye indigtement We the Lords commissionaris 
of Justicarie thairfore in ane justice court haldine be us within 
the tolbuith of Air vpon ye eight day of May instant be the 
mouth of Johne Wilsone dempster of Court decernit and adjugit 
hir to be taken vpon ye first Wednesday of June nixtokum to 
ye mercat croce of Edr to be scourged by the hand of the hang- 
man and commone executioner from thence to the Netherbow 
of the sd burgh and yrefter to be brought back to ye crose 
againe And have hir tongue boared and brunt on ye cheick 
and to remaine prisoner in ye tolbuith of Edr till she inact hir 
selfFin ye books of adjournall yt she shall not returne to the 
shy re of Air or any part yrof vnder the paine of death, etc. etc. 

Sic sub. IIalcartounb, 
Johne Baird. 

The signatures are those of two judges of the 
Court of Session. 

King James's troubles with the Kirk were far from 
being at an end ; are they not written in the books of 
all who have dealt with those years of acerbity ? But 
when he left his capital on 5th April 1603 to take 
up the great inheritance devolving upon him through 
the death of his cousin Elizabeth, he could at least 


claim that he had bridled the preachers and stifled 
the feuds of the chief nobles. Above all, he saved 
his country from a ruinous war w^ith England in the 
cause of his mother, though he must have foreseen 
that he must figure in history as a faineant knight 
and a callous son. 

Before his departure, James attended service in the 
High Kirk (St Giles's) and listened to a sermon by 
Mr Hall, who exhorted him to show gratitude for 
his peaceful accession to the throne of England by 
devoting himself to the cause of religion. James 
then rose in his place and delivered a valedictory 
address to the congregation, in which he said many 
fine things which, says Calderwood, moved many of 
his hearers to tears. He promised to come back to 
his people once in every three years, an undertaking 
which he discharged by a single visit in two-and-twenty 
years ; while as for religion, a term which, in the 
vocabulary of Mr Hall and his friends, James very 
well knew to signify Presbyterianism pure and simple, 
the design nearest his heart was the restoration of 
prelacy in Scotland. He afterwards showed his 
sympathy with the Presbyterian form of Church 
government by prohibiting the General Assembly to 
meet in the years 1603 to 1609 inclusive, and by 
exclaiming at the Hampton Court Conference in 
1604 : " Presbytery I it agree th as well with a 
monarchy as God and the Devil." 

There can be no doubt that at first the general 
feeling in Edinburgh when the King of Scots 


ascended the throne of their ancient enemy was one 
of exultant triumph ; but there was another side to 
the shield. The departure of the Court and the 
absence of the nobles and their families who were 
wont to attend it meant serious loss of custom to 
tradesmen and added to the general gloom enforced 
by the preachers. Moreover, there was no Parlia- 
ment in Edinburgh between the years 1600 and 
1607, the sessions of the Estates in 1602 and 1604 
being held at Perth. There must have been among 
the older generation many, imperfectly " circumcised 
in their hearts," whose thoughts went wistfully back 
to their brighter young days when the Abbot of 
Unreason held his annual revels, when Yuletide was 
recognised as a season of mirth and good cheer, and 
when, on occasions of royal marriages, the birth of a 
prince and such-like, the fountain at the foot of the 
Mercat Cross bubbled forth with red wine and 
white for all thirsty comers. Now, when lightsome 
dancing had been forbidden to young men and 
maidens, the chief recreation remaining for persons 
of all ages was to repair to the Castle Hill to wit- 
ness witches " wirreit " (strangled) and burnt, or to 
the Borough Muir to watch the death-throes of 
Macgregors on the gallows. Others there were 
who, although they had joined in repudiating as 
idolatrous the images and incense, the lights and vest- 
ments of the worship in which they had been reared, 
yet missed the warmth and dignity of the ancient 
ritual, and writhed under intolerable espionage by 


the new ministers and the interminable length of 
their sermons, at which attendance was made com- 
pulsory under severe penalties. For instance, in 
1591, William, eldest son of the Earl of Angus, 
was tried before the Justiciary Court and convicted 
of having " declynit fra the trew and Christiane 
religioun, refuising to resorte to the preicheing of 
Godis worde." He was sentenced to banishment 
from the realm. As to the length of the sermons, 
there was no statutory limit to what these licensed 
windbags chose to make it. Few kirk-sessions ex- 
hibited the hardihood of that of Elgin, which in 
1621 ordered that " when Mr David Philip teaches, 
he turn the glass when he preaches, and that the 
whole be finished within an hour." 

No notice, however slight, of James VI.'s connec- 
tion with Edinburgh would merit attention wherein 
reference were not made to George Heriot, whose 
personality Scott has endeared to us as "Jingling 
Geordie " in llie Fortunes of NigeL The son of a 
goldsmith in Edinburgh, he married at the age of 
twenty-three, and received from his father a wedding 
gift of 1500 merks Scots (about £80) "for the setting 
up of ane buith to him." The tradesmen of the 
town carried on their business in booths which were 
niched into every available space near the top of the 
High Street — between the buttresses of St Giles's 
Church or in the very shadow of the gloomy Tolbooth, 
anywhere, in short, that a vacant space could be 
had on paying a small rent to the Town Council. 

» » 

GEORGE HERIOT : I563-1624. 
From the painting by Scougall in Heriot's Hospital. 


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Heriot's booth stood among others where now is 
the entrance hall of the Signet Library/ It was 
only seven feet square, yet it served him as the 
source of what was then deemed a colossal fortune. 
It is not clear how King James became acquainted 
with Heriot. Probably it was through his queen, 
Anne of Denmark, who had an exorbitant taste in 
jewellery. Anyhow, "Jingling Geordie" was appointed 
goldsmith to the queen in 1597 and jeweller to the 
king in 1601, both offices entitling him to handsome 
fees. Heriot was a financier as well as a working 
goldsmith, and frequently lent considerable sums to 
both the king and queen. In fact, he made himself 
so indispensable to them, that rooms were allotted 
to him in Holyroodhouse, though he still wrought 
at his craft in the original booth. He accompanied 
the Court when it moved to London, and set up 
"foreanent the New Exchange," where his business 
increased to such a degree that he was at his wit's 
end how to find workmen enough to enable him to 
execute the orders that poured in. After his first 
wife died, he returned to Edinburgh for a second one, 
marrying in 1609 Alison Primrose, daughter of the 
clerk to the Privy Council, the grandfather of the 
first Earl of Rosebery. At this time Queen Anne 
was in Heriot's debt to the extent of £18,000, which 

^ When the booth was taken down to make way for the Signet 
Library, Heriot's name was found carved over the door. Inside 
were his forge, bellows and crucible, now preserved in Heriot's 


seems to have been liquidated some years later by 
granting him the sugar duties for three years. When 
he died in 1623 he bequeathed £23,625 for the build- 
ing and endowment of a hospital in Edinburgh " in 
imitation," to quote his own words, " of the public, 
pious, and religious work founded within the city of 
London called Christ's Hospital." The building was 
begun in 1628, on a site to the west of Greyfriars' 
Churchyard, opposite the Royal Infirmary ; but, as the 
work was paid for only out of interest on the capital 
sum, and as this had been invested in property which 
suffered from the disturbed state of the country, it 
was barely finished in 1650, when Cromwell took 
possession of it and filled it with his sick and wounded 
soldiers. It was not till 1658 that General Monck 
removed his invalids and handed the building back 
to the trustees, who put it to its destined purpose 
in the following year by admitting thirty fatherless 
boys to receive free education. The hospital is a 
very fine example of Renaissance work. " Now that 
Glasgow College has been demolished," says David 
MacGibbon, "it is the finest and most important 
public building erected in Scotland during the seven- 
teenth century."^ The design has been attributed 
to Walter Balcanquall, Dean of Rochester, but there 
is little doubt that the king's master mason, William 
Wallace, was the actual architect. 

** Jingling Geordie" must be a happy soul if he 

^ Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland, by David 
MacGibbon and Thomas Ross, vol. iv. p. 145. 

heriot's hospital: north door. 

d d « i 

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•'■'4 • • *a « 


is in a position to know how sagaciously his exe- 
cutors invested his bequest. The annual income 
derived from the trust now considerably exceeds in 
amount the capital originally invested, and, being 
far beyond the requirements of the hospital itself, 
the governors have been able to establish Heriot 
free schools in other parts of Edinburgh, and to 
endow the Heriot- Watt College for technical in- 

King James, as aforesaid, had publicly promised 
to revisit Edinburgh once in every three years 
after he succeeded to the throne of England. On 
the faith of this promise, the Town Council went 
to considerable expense in 1606-07 in repairing and 
beautifying the Nether Bow — the city gate through 
which his Majesty should enter the capital from 
Holyroodhouse. On 1st May 1607, "understand- 
ing that it is the custome of maist renownit cities 
to have the effigie or statue of their Prince set up 
upon the maist patent part of the citie . . . thairfor 
they have thought expedient and ordain to affix 
and set up upon the maist patent and honorabill 
part of the Nether Bow the image or statue of his 
majesty gravin in maist prynclie and decent form 
in remembrance of his majesty, and of their sincere 
afFectioun borne unto him." But fourteen years 
went by before King James returned for the last 
time to Edinburgh, and it was not until 9th 
September 1616 that the Council " ordainis Johnne 
Byris, Thesaurer, to content and pay to Benjamin 


Lambert the sowme of 433 merks 6 schillingis 
8 penyis for the Kingis portrait and New Armis 
to be erected at the Nether Bow." This statue 
has not survived the destruction of the venerable 
Town Gate. Probably it was destroyed long before 
the demolition of the Nether Bow, and was con- 
demned, in common with all other insignia of 
royalty, during the Cromwellian regime. The Rev. 
R. S. Mylne succeeded recently in recovering some 
of the stones of the Nether Bow, including that 
which held the spike whereon whatever political 
party happened to be in power were wont to dis- 
play the heads of the more prominent leaders of 
the Opposition. These stones are now laid beside 
John Knox's Church. 

When, at last, King James did return to Edin- 
burgh in 1617, he was received with all the usual 
tedious ceremonies — more tedious than ever, owing 
to discourses by long-winded divines. With him 
came a large number of English notables — I^ord- 
Keeper Francis Bacon, the Earls of Arundel, 
Pembroke, Southampton, and " Geordie," Earl of 
Buckingham, the latest favourite. Among the clergy 
Dr William Laud's presence was ominous of dis- 
cord, for he had already incurred hatred from the 
Calvinists, and he gave much offence on this occa- 
sion by attending a funeral in a surplice. Inigo Jones 
had been sent down in advance to prepare Holy- 
rood Chapel for service, fitting up an organ and 
stalls for choristers. But the Presbyterian bishops 














• 1 


were aghast at the sight of gilded figures of the 
twelve apostles which he brought with him, and 
they persuaded King James not to scandalise his 
subjects by allowing these to be set up. 

James, in fact, had come to Scotland for two 
purposes only: to hunt the red stag (for he was 
ever a keen sportsman), and to insist upon the 
Church of Scotland conforming to the English 
order. In the first he succeeded, enjoying some 
very good sport in familiar scenes : in the second he 
was successful only in setting people worse by the 
ears than ever. He was perfectly sincere in his 
desire to restore decency and order in the national 
worship and Church government, and his indignation 
at the neglect and defacement of the ancient 
churches commands our sympathy. Of St Giles's, 
over which, as the parish church of Edinburgh, the 
Town Council, had they dared to remonstrate with 
the preachers, might have exercised some protection, 
Father Baillie wrote mournfully in 1627 : 

Bare walls and pillars all clad in dust, sweepings and cob- 
webs . . . and on every side the restless resorting of people 
treating of their worldly affairs ; some writing and making 
obligations, contracts and discharges, others laying counts or 
telling over sums of money. . . . The west end of the church is 
divided into a high house for the College of Justice, and a lower 
house, called the Lower Tolbooth.^ 

It is easy to see that James took the wrong way 
to bring about a better state of things ; nor is it at all 

1 A True Information, by Father BailHe, a Benedictine, 16^7 
quoted in Lang's History of Scotla7id,ui. 25. 


easy to define what would have been the right way ; 
for the people of Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland, 
lashed by the preachers and persuaded that excess 
of reverence was idolatry, had forsworn the barest 
respect for things once deemed holy. When King 
James turned his back on Scotland for the last time, 
there were few who regretted his departure. A well- 
meaning individual on the whole, but one whom no 
man ever trusted and no woman ever loved. 

For nine years the Scottish capital had to rub 
along without the presence of royalty to brighten it. 
In 1633, the seventh year of his reign. King Charles 
came to be crowned at Holy rood as King of Scotland, 
Not without significance that he should have been 
the first to depart from the old style " King of Scots." ^ 
He owned the realm, indeed, but he never won the 
hearts of its people. Howbeit, he was received with 
the utmost demonstration of loyalty. Holy rood- 
house was redecorated and rearranged for his 
comfort. A partition was run across the south end 
of Queen Mary's presence chamber, which, if it cut 
through the design of the painted ceiling, at least 
served to shut out the spot where Riccio's blood had 
stained the floor, and a great catafalque bed was set 
up for the king. The said partition has now, happily, 
been removed and the chamber restored to its original 

^ The first, that is of kings crowned in Scotland. James VI. 
had been crowned King of Scots in 1567, but after his coronation 
in l603 as King of England he assumed the style of "King of 
England, Scotland, France and Ireland," sometimes varied as "of 
(ireat Britain, France and Ireland." 

From an engraving by T. Stewart, after D. Wilson, 

•J rt 

-1 *"? 


proportions. John Spalding devoted many pages of 
his delectable diary to describing the fetes and func- 
tions on the occasion — the dresses and demeanour 
of those who figured in them. The Provost and 
bailies in scarlet and fur, the aldermen and council- 
lors in black velvet, received the king at the West 
Port and presented him with a "propyne" in the 
shape of a golden bowl which cost 5000 merks and 
contained a thousand double angels in gold.^ The 
procession was then formed, being augmented by the 
City Guard "in white satein doublets, blak veluot 
breikis [breeches] and silk stokings," and wound its 
way to the Market Cross, and so down the High 
Street, through the Nether Bow into the Canongate 
and home to Holyrood. A halt had been called at 
seven different places, at each of which his Majesty 
had to listen to a speech. 

Next day was Sunday ; on Monday, 17th June, the 
king rode to the Castle, dined and slept there, 
and went in procession next day to be crowned in 
the mutilated remains of the Abbey Church. The 
ceremony was performed by five Presbyterian bishops 
and the Archbishop of St Andrews, clad in blue silk 
cassocks, white rochets and gold copes, raiment 
which, observes Spalding, " bred gryt feir of inbring- 
ing of poperie." 

Thursday, 20th June, was fixed for the ceremony of 
riding the Parliament, and the session was opened 

1 The double angel was equal in value to £12 Scots or £1 



in the High Tolbooth by the king and prorogued 
in hke manner on the 28th. The king remained at 
Holyrood till 13th July, when he began his journey 
to London, leaving behind him all the elements of an 
explosion, which was fired four years later, when he 
sent down Laud's Liturgy with a command that every 
minister was to buy it and use it. Sunday, 23rd 
July 1637, was fixed for the inauguration of the new 
ritual in St Giles's. The solemnity of the occasion 
was marked by the presence of both the Scottish 
archbishops, several bishops, the lords of Privy 
Council, and the judges. Dean Hanna was appointed 
to read the service : no sooner did he open the book 
than an uproar began, people shouting that this was 
the mass ; a woman or women, or apprentices dis- 
guised as women, flung a stool or stools at the dean ; 
Archbishop Spottiswoode tried to restore order ; the 
words were swept from his lips by a tempest of 
" booing," and the congregation broke up in tumult. 
The new (and first) Bishop of Edinburgh was to have 
preached the sermon ; that being out of the question, 
he started for home, honest man ! but was set upon 
by the mob, who were like to have put it beyond his 
power ever to preach again. " Being a corpulent man, 
he was haistellie put in the Erll of Roxburghe coache, 
and wes careit to his lodging, the same rascallis still 
following him and throwing stones at the coache, so 
that he escaipit narrowlie with his lyf."^ 

The war for civil independence had burnt itself 

^ Spalding's Diary. 




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out ; the war for spiritual independence was kindled 
on that Sunday in St Giles's — a war that was to leave 
on the national life and character a deeper and more 
durable brand than the other. Like fire in heather 
before the winds of March the flame of indignant 
resistance spread. From all parts of Scotland, save 
Aberdeen and the West Highlands, people flocked 
into Edinburgh ; " supplications " — petitions, they 
would now be called — for the withdrawal of the 
)bnoxious liturgy poured in upon the Privy Council, 
who could but forward them to the king in London. 
He replied with a command to arrest the ringleaders 
in the riots. After a more serious riot on 18th 
October the Privy Council moved for safety to 
Linlithgow, later to Stirling. 

Street riots were but as the foam on a rising tide. 
The Scottish nobles, still retaining much of their 
feudal influence, were united in a degree that they 
had not known for centuries. They had an able 
organiser in Leslie, Earl of Rothes, who, in his 
Relation, explains how they " fell upon the considera- 
tion of ane band of union to be made legally," which 
he drew up in conference with Johnstone of Warris- 
ton and Alexander Henderson — the National Coven- 
ant "for the maintenance of true religion and the 
king's person." On 28th February 1638 Henderson 
read the Covenant before an intensely earnest throng 
in Greyfriars' Churchyard ; it was then laid — a parch- 
ment an ell square — on a flat tombstone for signature, 
and was speedily filled with names, that of Montrose 


being conspicuous among the names of men who were 
one day to send him to the gallows. 

King Charles temporised. He sent the Marquess 
of Hamilton^ three times to Edinburgh with fresh 
proposals each time. On the last occasion, 17th 
September, Hamilton was able to announce the 
withdrawal of the Liturgy, with the royal consent 
to a free Parliament and General Assembly, but 
coupled with the fatal condition of the annulment 
of the National Covenant and the substitution of 
one drafted by the king's order, to be known as 
the King's Covenant. 

To follow the course of events thereafter would be 
impossible without pronouncing judgment upon the 
motives and actions of the king and his ministers, 
of the Scottish leaders and the Covenanters, which 
would be far beyond the scope of this review. Only 
a few of the scenes enacted in Edinburgh can be 
glanced at. Hamilton dissolved the General As- 
sembly which the king had commissioned him to 
summon — dissolved it on pain of a charge of high 
treason. In the early months of 1639 both nations 
were under arms. The Covenanters were fortunate 
in having among them a most capable soldier in the 
person of Sir Alexander Leslie,^ who had served 
under Gustavus Adolphus for thirty years. His 
first act was to take possession of Aberdeen, the only 
town in Scotland hostile to the National Covenant ; 

1 Created first Duke of Hamilton in 1643 ; executed in 1649. 

2 Created Earl of Leven in l641. 


his second act was to summon Haldane of Gleneagles, 
the king's constable of Edinburgh Castle, to surrender. 
Leslie appeared before the inner gate with a mere 
handful of men ; when his summons was peremptorily 
refused, he made a feint of retiring ; but, in doing so, 
fastened a petard on the outer gate and blew it to 
pieces. Instantly some of his men attacked the 
inner gate with axes and rams, others placed scaling 
ladders against the walls, and in a few minutes the 
place was in possession of the Covenanters without 
the loss of a man on either side. 

It was in this year of boding that the Parliament 
House was finished, having been begun in 1632. It 
had been hoped that King Charles would have opened 
it in person ( " they did ill that advised him other- 
wise," observes Howell in his Familiar Letters) ; but 
it so turned out that the principal work of the Parlia- 
ment of that year, sitting for the first time in the 
new building instead of the old Tolbooth — the 
" Heart of Midlothian " — was to vote supply for an 
army to fight their king.^ 

In May, Leslie reviewed his forces at Leith, and 
then marched south with 30,000 men to attack the 
royalist army at Berwick. But there was no fighting 
this time ; negotiations were opened, resulting in a 
hollow peace, whereof one condition was that Leslie 
(upon whose head the king had set a price of £500) 
should be deprived of his commission. Leslie eased 

^ The appearance of the Parliament House was completely 
altered in 1 829, with a result the reverse of felicitous. 


the situation by resigning ; but in the following April 
he resumed the command, after receiving the freedom 
of the City of Edinburgh (1st April 1640). 

After the pacification of Berwick, Edinburgh 
Castle, which had been placed in the command of 
Lord Balmerino, with Montrose's regiment as gar- 
rison, was restored to the king. Sir Patrick Ruthven 
was appointed governor, and marched in on 25th 
February 1640 with drums beating and matches 
burning. Now, Ruthven, like Leslie, had served 
under Gustavus Adolphus ; ^ when the pacification 
broke down in June, Leslie sent Montrose with a 
white flag to summon the Castle. Ruthven de- 
clared they should never have it while he lived, and, 
so soon as Montrose had withdrawn, opened fire 
upon the town. The Covenanters then laid regular 
siege to the place. They mined the Spur,^ blowing 
open a practicable breach in its south-east angle ; but 
on 12th June a storming party, led by Major Somer- 
ville of Drum (another veteran of the Swedish 
Army), was repulsed with the loss of four-fifths of 

1 Ruthven was sixty-seven at this time. Gustavus Adolphus made 
him governor of Ulm in l632, and gave him the estate of Kirchberg 
with a rental of £1800 a year. It is said that he owed his promotion 
to the enormous amount he could drink without becoming intoxi- 
cated. " When the king wanted to regale ministers and officers of 
the adverse party, in order to extract secrets from them in their more 
cheerful hours, he made Ruthven field-marshal of the bottles and 
glasses, as he could drink immeasurably and preserve his under- 
standing to the last" (Harte's Life of Gustavus Adolphus, i. 177). 

2 A great triangular ravelin, forming the principal outwork of 
the Castle. 


•» * * * -^ ^ * K 1 i 

* 1 a^ a*- - . 


its strength. Staunch old Ruthven, who had the 
Regalia of Scotland in keeping, made good his defence 
till 18th September; when, having lost 200 of his 
garrison by disease, he capitulated and was allowed 
to march out to Leith with the honours of war. It 
was a grim, gallant little column — seventy men all 
told. As they passed down the High Street with 
their one drum defiantly beating, their one flag 
proudly flying and two cannon with portfires burn- 
ing, they were escorted by 600 of the Covenanters' 
army to protect them from the fury of the Edinburgh 
mob. Sir James Balfour describes Ruthven as 
" spoiled with the scurvy, his legs swelled and many 
of his teeth fallen out." J Nevertheless, he lived to 
the age of seventy-eight, having been created by King 
Charles Earl of Forth in 1642, and of Brentford in 

Montrose, who was only twenty-eight in 1640, 
had come to the opinion that the tyranny of the 
Presbyterian preachers was far more intolerable — far 
more dangerous to the state — than the ascendancy 
of the bishops which had driven him into the 
Covenanters' ranks. In 1641 he went over to the 
king's side, and was promptly clapped into prison in 
Edinburgh Castle by Argyll, together with Napier 
of Merchiston, Stewart of Blackball, and Stirling of 
Keir. On 14th August 1641 King Charles, alarmed 
by the rising spirit of his English Parliament, re- 
turned to Edinburgh to preside over the deliberations 

^ Annals^ ii. 403. 


of his Scottish one. He had the mortification of 
signing the Act for abolishing " monuments of 
idolatry," which set the brand and the hammer to 
work upon such objects of ecclesiastical art as had 
survived the fires and violence of the Reformation ; 
but far harder was it to have his consent wrung to 
the demand that officers of State, Privy Councillors, 
and Lords of Session should in future be nominated 
by the king, subject to ''the advice and approba- 
tion " of Parliament, which in those days meant the 

On 17th November King Charles gave a banquet 
to the peers in Holyroodhouse, and at eight o'clock 
next morning left for the south to resume his quarrel 
with the Long Parliament. On which side were the 
Scottish Parliament and people to take their stand 
in that quarrel? On 22nd August 1642 King 
Charles raised his standard at Nottingham : in 
November the English Parliament issued an appeal 
to the Scottish Estates : in December the king 
did the same. By eleven votes to nine the Privy 
Council affirmed their loyalty to the Crown. There 
followed months of violent agitation and vehement 
pulpit-work, working up Edinburgh into the same 
feverish state that gave birth to the National 
Covenant. In like manner, on 2nd August 1643, was 
produced before the General Assembly the Solemn 
League and Covenant, which went far beyond its 
predecessor in its demands, for it sought to impose 
Presbyterianism compulsorily on the whole realm. 

From a water-colour drawing bj' J, D. Harvey* 



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Here may be noted in passing the frequent confusion 
by historians between these two covenants — the 
National Covenant of 1639 and the Solemn League 
and Covenant of 1643. In Haydn's Dictionary of 
Dates, for example, only one of them — the Solemn 
League and Covenant — is mentioned, and it is as- 
signed to the year 1638. Montrose himself, noblest 
and brightest of Cavaliers, adhered to the last to 
the National Covenant, but went to the scaffold 
rather than subscribe to the Solemn League and 

Most of the dreadful scenes enacted during the rest 
of Charles's reign — the cruel encounters of Scot against 
brother Scot — the wholesale slaughter of prisoners of 
war — the sale of the king to the English Parliament for 
£400,000 — took place at a distance from Edinburgh. 
But when the Estates met in the New Parliament 
House on 2nd March 1648 the spirit of the nation, or at 
least of the legislature, had undergone a strange re- 
action. The Duke of Hamilton, in the ambiguous 
character of a royalist covenanter or covenanting 
royalist, carried by a large majority against Argyll 
and the clergy a resolution demanding the release of 
the king and the enforcement of the demand by the 
immediate invasion of England. 

The cause was not popular in Edinburgh. Women 
threw stones at Hamilton and the Lord Provost 
as they drove down the High Street. The army 
marched in August, 24,000 they say, under Hamilton, 
of all men I as commander-in-chief, only to be cut 


to pieces by Cromwell in a series of encounters begin- 
ning at Preston. Hamilton, having surrendered, was 
soon disposed of, as the victors in that ruthless strife 
were wont to dispose of those who differed with 
them — by "the Maiden" or the gibbet. 

Cromwell, however, was not yet done with Scotland. 
King Charles suffered on 30th January 1649. On 
5th February his son, by order of the Scottish Estates, 
was proclaimed at the Market Cross of Edinburgh, 
King of Great Britain, France and Ireland — a direct 
challenge to the English Parliament which had 
accepted the Commonwealth. There was some 
bloody work to be got through before that challenge 
could be sustained. Scotland of the Covenants would 
acknowledge no king who refused to sign them. 
Charles I. had firmly refused to set hand to either of 
them. Would the second Charles stoop low enough 
to purchase the throne at that price ? Commissioners 
were sent to him at the Hague to find out ; and, as 
an object-lesson, Lord Huntly — the " Cock o' the 
North " — was beheaded at the Cross of Edinburgh on 
22nd March. Huntly had only to sign the covenant 
in order to go free. Montrose was still in arms for 
an uncovenanted king : Charles appointed him lieu- 
tenant-governor and captain-general of Scotland 
on 22nd February. Well might the king hesitate 
before throwing over so puissant a champion. For 
more than a year he haggled with the Scottish 
commissioners ; in the end, sacrificing honour to 
expediency, he allowed Montrose to go to his doom 


in the Grassmarket, and, before landing at Speymouth 
a month later — 23rd June 1650 — he signed both 
covenants — the National Covenant of 1639 and the 
Solemn League and Covenant of 1643. 

And now, like wild beasts cowed into harmlessness 
by a forest fire, the various factions in Scotland laid 
aside their wrangling, for English drums were beating 
the point of war, Cromwell having crossed the Border 
on 22nd July with 11,000 foot and 5000 horse. Nay, 
but there was one faction that would not be quelled. 
David Leslie,^ the vanquisher of Montrose, was ready 
at Leith with 20,000 excellent troops, and in all 
human probability he would have proved more than 
a match for Oliver ; but the preachers swarmed like 
blow-flies, promising victory, says NicoU in his diary, 
" over those erroneous and blasphemous parties," and 
insisting upon Leslie purging his ranks of malignants, 
whereby his force was reduced by one-half. "They 
purged out above eighty commanders ; the ministers 
in all places preached incessantly for this purging," 
in order to avert " God's judgments upon the land 
and the army." As Andrew Lang has drily observed, 
"the cashiering of officers in face of the enemy 
for politico - religious reasons is not apt to avert 

On 30th July Cromwell was at Musselburgh. 
Leslie having fortified Leith — which had been dis- 
mantled by an ill-advised order of the Edinburgh Town 

^ Nephew of Alexander Leslie, first Earl of Leven, like whom 
he had learnt the art of war under Gustavus Adolphus. 


Council in 1560^ — and strengthened the defences 
of the capital, entrenched himself between the two 
towns. Cromwell, knowing with whom he had to 
deal, declined an encounter, retired to Dunbar again. 
On 11th August he advanced to Musselburgh, intend- 
ing to move round by the south side of Edinburgh 
and seize Queensferry ; but failure of supplies baffled 
him, and when he resumed the attempt on the 18th 
Leslie skilfully intercepted him at every point. The 
two commanders manoeuvred against each other 
until the 28th, when Cromwell, depending on the 
sea for supplies, was forced to fall back once more 
upon Dunbar. Here, on 3rd September, the issue 
was joined, and Leslie's army, "purged" of the 
flower of its officers, was disastrously defeated. 
After that, the way lay open to Edinburgh, which 
Cromwell promptly seized ; and after the battle of 
Worcester, which took place on the first anniversary 
of the decisive battle of Dunbar, the Commonwealth 
was master of Scotland. Eight commissioners were 

1 Forsamekle as it is notourlie knawyn how hurtfull the fortifica- 
tioun of Leyth hes bene to this haill realme, and in speciall to 
thair rowmes [those holdings] nyxt adiacent thairvnto and how 
preiudiciall this samyn salbe to the libertie of this haill cuntre in 
cais strangearis sail at onytynie heirefter intruse thameselffis thairin, 
for thir and sielyke considderationis the counsall hes thocht ex- 
pedient and chargis the prowest, bailHes and counsall of Edinburgh 
to tak ordour with the toun and communite of the samyn and caus 
and compell thame to appoint ane sufficient noumer to cast doun 
and dimolishe the southe part of the said toun, begynnand at 
Sanct Anthonis port and passing westwart to the Watter of Leithe 
making the blokhouse and courtene equall with the ground, etc. 
etc. (Records of the Town Council, 2nd July 1560). 


appointed to govern the country, sitting at Dalkeith, 
and their first care was to strip Edinburgh of every 
carving or other decoration symboHc of royalty. 
The citizens now were in a position to decide which 
was the less oppressive — the royal prerogative of 
James VI. and Charles I. or the military despotism 
of the Commonwealth. The sensible among them 
applied themselves, not without success, to commerce 
and manufacture; the foolish to witch-hunting and 
hearing incendiary sermons. And so the years passed 
until the Restoration in 1660. Alas 1 that so 
auspicious an event — one that should have been 
signalised by general amnesty for political errors — 
must have its baptism in blood. When the 
Marquess of Argyll — Gillespie Grumach, "the Ill- 
favoured," as his clansmen called him — presented 
himself at Whitehall to pay homage to his sovereign, 
he was arrested and sent down to Edinburgh to be 
tried for treasonable acts committed at various times 
since 1638. He was condemned to death, but was 
spared the indignity of the gallows, to which, 
through the lowered blinds of Moray House, he had 
watched Montrose pass just eleven years before. He 
was decapitated by "the Maiden" at the Market 
Cross, 27th May 1661. Twenty years later, on 30th 
June 1681, his son, ninth Earl of Argyll, suffered 
a similar fate at the same place. Just as the most 
conspicuous landmarks in the chronicles of Europe 
are its battlefields, so the annals of our historic towns 
are so densely bespattered with blood as to leave 


scant space for recording the silent growth of the 
community and its progress in the arts of peace. 

Political amnesty was not numbered among the 
resources of seventeenth-century statecraft. Argyll 
was far — very far — from being a solitary victim of 
the Restoration. Mention can be made of only one 
other, James Guthrie, to wit, one of the most accom- 
plished covenanting leaders and a preacher of great 
power. As minister of Lauder he was appointed a 
member of the commission to wait upon Charles I. 
at Newcastle in 1646. He became minister of 
Stirling in 1649 ; negotiated with Cromwell after the 
battle of Dunbar, and, after the Restoration, prepared 
in August 1660 a petition to Charles II., setting 
forth the loyalty of his party — " the Protesters " — 
and calling upon the king to fulfil his obligations as 
a Covenanter. He was immediately arrested, and in 
February following was arraigned before Parliament 
on a charge of high treason. He was found guilty 
and condemned to the gallows. He met his fate 
manfully, not without a gleam of humour, for on 
1st June, the day of his execution, he called for 
cheese at his dinner, saying that his physician had 
forbidden it, but now it did not matter what he ate. 
After he was hanged, his head was set on the Nether 
Bow, where it remained on a spike for seventeen 
years, till it was taken down and reverently buried by 
Alexander Hamilton, a divinity student, in 1688. 

Through all the bloody years that were to be long 
remembered as " the killing time," the chief scenes 




• 5*" 

«**. ' 








of strife lay in the west. A column of Westland 
Whigs did indeed attempt a march upon the capital 
in 1666 : they reached Lanark, where they renewed 
the Covenant; but the Edinburgh Town Council, 
once so fervidly Presbyterian, was now as fervidly 
loyal, and caused military measures to be taken for 
the defence of the city. Dalziel of Binns, who had 
learnt the art, if not the amenities, of war in the 
Russian service, came upon the rebels from the south, 
drove them towards Edinburgh, and, when they 
made a stand at Rullion Green, scattered them to the 
four winds. Such was the brief affair known as the 
Pentland rising. Many of the fugitives took refuge 
in Edinburgh ; among them John, younger brother 
of Sir William Maxwell of Monreith.^ His ad- 
ventures have been told as follows by the late Sir 
Andrew Agnew of Lochnaw : 

Being closely pursued by some soldiers in Edinburgh, he ran 
down a narrow close and took refuge in a change-house,^ where 
he begged the landlady to hide him. The only place of con- 
cealment available was a large new meal-chest, fastened with a 
padlock, in which he had hardly ensconced himself and heard 
the key make all secure, when the house was filled and sur- 
rounded by his pursuers, who loudly exclaimed that they were 
certain he was there. 

" Seek the hoose an ye will," replied the gudewife ; " it's no 
sae muckle as'll keep ye lang." 

The soldiers did so, and without success, and next demanded 
liquor. On sitting down to discuss it, one of them jumped on 
the meal-store, and all began expressing their wonder at where 

^ Great-great-great-great-grandfather of the present writer. 
2 A small tavern. 


the d — d Whig could have got to, when the man on the chest 
suddenly exclaimed: "They hide ony gate;i maybe he's in this 
very kist. Gudewife, gie's the key till we see." 

The remark was anything but pleasant to John Maxwell, who 
overheard all ; but the matron"*s nerves fortunately did not fail 
her. With great address, and without a moment's delay, she 
flung open the room door and . . . roared over the landing: 
" Jeanie, lass, rin awa"* to the gudeman for the key o"* the girnal, 
till we see gin a Whig can lie in meal and no gie a hoast wi't ! " ^ 

The ruse succeeded ; the soldiers laughed, and, asking no 
more about him, went off without waiting for the return of the 

Thirteen years later the people of Edinburgh 
received sorrowful demonstration of the hopeless 
strife the resolute Westland Covenanters were main- 
taining against the forces of the Crown. The battle 
of Bothwell Brig was fought on 22nd June 1679 ; 
the Town Council of Edinburgh expended £46 Scots 
(£3, 18s. sterling) in bonfires to celebrate the victory. 
Two days later, a doleful procession of 1184 prisoners 
were marched into the city and were interned in the 
inner churchyard of Greyfriars. There has been a 
good deal of misunderstanding about the exact place 
where these captive Covenanters were confined. The 
Town Council had acquired in 1618 twelve acres of 
the lands of High Riggs, whereof they disposed of 
S^ acres to Heriot's Hospital in 1628. The remain- 
ing 3^ acres lay waste till 1636, when they were 

^ Anywhere. 

2 Not give a cough with it. 

3 Hereditary Sheriff i- of Galloway^ by Sir Andrew Agnew, Bt., M.P., 
vol. ii. p. 101. 


enclosed as an addition to the old burial-ground ; but 
it was never used for burials before 1703. Till that 
year it served as a drill-ground and place of muster 
in times of alarm, and it was here, and not among 
the tombstones, that the Covenanters were interned. 
The ground is now covered by the west side of Bristo 
Place, the north side of Teviot Row, and both sides 
of Forrest Road. 

At this time the Town Militia or Train Band 
was 4000 strong. The prisoners were committed 
to the custody of this force, the Town Council 
decreeing that there were to be "at least twenty- 
four C entries in the Night Time, and Eight in 
the Day Time ; of which Centries the Officers shall 
keep a particular List, that if any of the Prisoners 
escape, the Centries may assure themselves to 
cast the Dice, and answer Body for Body for the 
Fugitives, without any Exception : and the Officers 
are to answer for the Centries, and the Town of 
Edinburgh for the Officers." 

No citizens were allowed to approach Greyfriars' 
Yard except those bringing charitable gifts of food 
for the prisoners, the official allowance being only 
one penny loaf per diem for each man. 

On 29th June came the king's order, signed by 

Lauderdale, for trial of the prisoners, " and that 

you put them to the torture if they refuse to inform 

in what you have pregnant presumptions to believe 

they know." Next, the Duke of Monmouth arrived 

at Holyroodhouse and, with his staff, was enter- 



tained by the effusively loyal .Town Council to 
** ane treat," and given the freedom of the city. The 
treat cost £3709 Scots (£309, Is. 8d.), and the gold 
box to hold Monmouth's burgess's ticket £140 Scots 
(£11, 13s. 4d.). Monmouth being a kindly soul, his 
influence with the Privy Council was all for clemency. 
He desired to liberate all prisoners who would sign 
a bond never again to bear arms against the king. 
The Privy Council agreed, except as against ministers, 
heritors, and ringleaders, who were at once to be 
shipped off to the Plantations — that is, sent into 
slavery — to the number of 300 or 400. Many of 
the prisoners signed the parole at once and went 
free; on 11th July only 338 out of 1184 remained 
in captivity. But others were brought in from Lin- 
lithgow and Glasgow, raising the number to 380. 
Five grim Covenanters who refused to sign were 
sent to St Andrews to be hanged on Magus Moor, 
the scene of Archbishop Sharpe's murder. On 10th 
November, 210 wretched men, who had been con- 
fined in Grey friars' Yard for nearly five months, 
were marched down to Leith, being joined on the 
way by 47 others from the Edinburgh and Canon- 
gate Tolbooths, and shipped on board the Crown. 
For a whole month the vessel was either buffeted 
in the gale or stormstayed in harbour, and was 
finally wrecked on the Orkneys on 10th December, 
when more than two hundred of the prisoners in- 
voluntarily avoided a more wretched fate by getting 


When James VII. and II. escaped from Berwick 
to France at Christmastide 1688, he left his country, 
especially its capital city, torn between two factions : 
the loyal Jacobites, who, loathing the prospect of 
a foreign prince being brought to rule over them, 
took up the cause of " the King over the water " 
with all the romantic fervour which such a cause 
has always commanded in Scotland ; and the Presby- 
terian Whigs, who were looking eagerly for the 
coming of William of Orange. There were waverers, 
of course, anxiously veering from side to side, as 
the popular tide seemed to flow ; but the populace 
of Edinburgh was noisily anti- Jacobite. Their fury 
broke out when the news arrived of William's land- 
ing at Torbay on 5th November 1688. Lord Chan- 
cellor Perth quitted his quarters in Holy rood just 
in time, for a huge mob gathered in front of the 
palace, which was held against them by Captain 
Wallace and a company of musketeers. There was 
some firing ; a few of the rabble fell before Wallace 
was directed by the Privy Council to withdraw his 
men. This he refused to do without orders from 
his commanding officer ; whereupon the magistrates 
sent a force of the Town Militia to dislodge him. 
By this time Wallace had drawn up his company 
before the palace gate, and was keeping the mob 
at bay; but the captain of the City Guard took 
him in rear, having entered the Palace by a back 
way. Then, and not till then, was the gallant 
Wallace forced to yield ; the people poured into 


the palace, wrecked King James's private chapel, 
burning books, vestments, ornaments — everything that 
seemed connected with papacy, and a great deal 
besides. It was well and wonderful that the palace 
itself was not consumed. They broke into the 
Chapel Royal (the old Abbey Church) also, and 
destroyed all the fine work with which it had been 
so lately adorned. They burst open the royal burial 
vault, tearing open the leaden coffins and scattering 
the bones of kings and princes, whereby Edinburgh 
was despoiled for ever of memorials of a kind which 
are ever most proudly cherished, alike by civilised 
and uncivilised communities. 

King James had committed Edinburgh Castle to 
the command of George, first Duke of Gordon, who 
has been reckoned by some writers as a waverer, 
because when, towards the end of February 1689, 
Dundee and Balcarres arrived after their fruitless 
interview with the king at Whitehall, they found 
him negotiating with the Privy Council for the 
surrender of his charge. But, in truth, the Duke 
was ill-provided for a siege. He was grievously short 
of munition and provender ; his garrison, originally 
consisting of 160 men, had dwindled by desertion, 
and the fidelity of one, at least, of his senior officers 
was not above suspicion. Nevertheless, Dundee 
persuaded him to yield only on condition of an 
indemnity to all his friends and to the Highland 
clans. This was refused ; the Convention Parlia- 
ment met on 14th March, and on the 18th the 



Castle was invested. On that day Dundee, whose 
life had been threatened, instead of attending the 
Convention whereof he was a member, left the city, 
determined, as James's lieutenant-general, to organise 
the loyalist clans of the north. His unwavering 
loyalty earned from William Carstares, most active 
and able of the Presbyterian adherents of the Dutch 
Prince, the frank encomium due to Dundee's "un- 
selfish faithfulness to a ruined master." Sir Walter 
Scott must not be blamed for casting a glamour of 
defiance over the episode by the soul-stirring lay of 
Bonnie Dundee ; but, in fact, Dundee had no more 
armed force with him than served to protect him 
from assassination. He rode forth from the West 
Port, halted under shadow of the Castle Rock, dis- 
mounted, climbed the steep rock, and spoke a last 
word of counsel to the beleaguered Duke of Gordon, 
who met him at the postern, now built up. Dundee 
fared northward, "wherever might lead him the 
shade of Montrose," and the citizens of Edinburgh 
saw no more of him whom Swift pronounced to be 
" the best man in Scotland." But the fear of him lay 
upon the Whigs, causing them to take immediate pre- 
caution against his return in force. Lord Leven — 
not old Alexander Leslie, famous General of the 
Covenant, who had been dead these eight and twenty 
years, but David Melville, who had succeeded to 
the earldom in 1681 — Lord Leven, I say, being em- 
powered to raise a battalion of foot, set the drums 
beating through the town to such good effect that. 


within twenty-four hours, it is said, he had eight 
hundred men enlisted. Thus was formed the " Edin- 
burgh Regiment " which, within a few weeks, was to 
receive its baptism of fire at Killiecrankie. The 
origin of this famous corps is now somewhat disguised 
under its modern title of the King's Own Scottish 
Borderers ; but the citizens of Edinburgh should 
never cease to honour it and be proud of it, especially 
having regard to the heavy sacrifice it has suffered 
and the splendid service it has rendered in the great 
European war now raging. It was good to see lately 
a battalion of this ancient corps vindicating its 
privilege as the Edinburgh Regiment by marching 
through the streets with fixed bayonets ; but it would 
be better still if it were sometimes accorded the 
honour which is surely its due, namely, of forming 
the garrison of its natal city. This has been con- 
sistently denied it, in common with other Lowland 
regiments, because they do not wear the kilt. The 
War Office, we must suppose, have hitherto withheld 
from Lowland regiments the coveted privilege of 
guarding the Honours of Scotland because it fulfils 
the expectation of tourists to see soldiers in the 
northern capital attired in what they fondly conceive 
to be the national dress of the Lothians I 

So far as Edinburgh was concerned, the Jacobites 
gave no further trouble after Dundee's departure. 
Mackay of Scourie restored equanimity to the 
Whigs by landing at Leith with three Dutch regi- 
ments, or, to speak more accurately, three regiments 


of Scots in the Dutch service. The Convention 
Parliament duly acknowledged William of Orange 
as King of Scotland, *'a country," as Andrew 
Lang caustically observes, " which neither he nor 
any later King of England ever saw, till George 
IV. made his visit one hundred and thirty- three 
years later." 



With the seventeenth century was brought to a 
close the most dismal chapter in the history of 
Scotland. There were troubles ahead still — plenty 
of them — but the wisest heads in the nation were 
agreed that there was but one way by which revival 
could be brought to a people so sorely impoverished 
by civil strife, so deeply degraded by sectarian perse- 
cution. The union of the Crowns had but complicated 
existing evils ; the only remedy lay in legislative 
fusion. Four years of preliminary conferences and 
commissions led up to the final appointment in 1706 
of thirty-one commissioners from each country — Sir 
Patrick Johnstone, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, being 
one of the Scottish team. The Commissioners sat 
in Westminster; but it was in Edinburgh that the 
battle had to be fought out. 

The Scottish Parliament met for its last session on 
3rd October of that year, under the presidency of 
the Duke of Queensberry, Lord High Commissioner. 
The functions of that office are now confined to 



presiding over the annual meeting of the General 
Assembly of the Church of Scotland, but previous 
to the Union the Lord High Commissioner was en- 
dowed with all the powers of a viceroy. Pamphlets 
flew thick and fast from the press ; Presbyterian 
preachers, says Lockhart of Carnwath, " roared against 
the wicked Union from their pulpits," declaiming 
against it as the inletting of prelacy ; while De Foe 
describes the Episcopalians raving at it from their 
point of view as the irrevocable establishment of 
Presbyterianism. The mob were taught to shout for 
independence ; they stoned the Lord High Com- 
missioner's carriage and broke Provost Johnstone's 
windows because he was one of the Commissioners 
for the Union ; troops had to be brought into the 
city to restore order — a breach of privilege for 
which the Privy Council had to receive a vote of 
indemnity. And so the session ran its stormy course ; 
the Duke of Hamilton leading the conglomerate 
opposition and failing them — betraying them, said 
the Cavalier party — at the most critical moment ; 
until, on 16th January 1707, the Act of Union was 
touched by the sceptre, received Queen Anne's assent 
on 4th March, and the Treaty of Union was ratified 
on 1st May 1707. 

It is a time-worn taunt against us Scots that we 
are slow to understand a joke ; but my friend Sir 
Henry Craik has detected one where, as I conceive, 
none was intended. In his Century of Scottish 
History (vol. i. p. 44) he rebukes Lord Chancellor 


Seafield for his *' ill-chosen jest " when, having signed 
the Act of Union, he handed it back to the clerk 
with the remark : " Now there's the end of an auld 
sang ! " To my apprehension these words convey no 
jocular suggestion ; rather do they sound a homely, 
but tender, coronach upon the passing of the old 
order — the severance of ancient ties. 

At first it seemed as if the most dismal foreboding 
of the anti-Unionists was like to be fulfilled, and 
that the ancient capital of Scotland was doomed to 
degenerate into a second- or third-rate provincial 
town. Even so late as 1753, William Maitland 
took a very gloomy view of the future of the city, 
whereof he wrote a conscientious, but deplorably 
dull, history. 

This place, says he, has suffered more by the union of 
the kingdoms than all the other parts of Scotland : for, having 
before that period, been the residence of the chief of the 
Scottish nobility, it was then in a flourishing condition ; but 
being deserted by them, many of their houses are fallen down, 
and others in a ruinous condition ; it is in a piteous case. 

Edinburgh was little affected by the Jacobite rising 
of 1715. There was, indeed, early in the affair a 
well-laid plot to seize the Castle — well-laid, but ill- 
executed. Lord John Drummond was leader, and 
successfully bribed some of the garrison to drop rope- 
ladders over the west wall, where he would have a 
party ready to scale it ; but one of the conspirators, 
Arthur by name, blabbed to his brother, and he, in 
turn, told his wife, who, being of the Hanoverian 

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I H 



*l M 



























I— I 




> 4) 














•) •< 


•> rt 

<••> ' 

•> * 


THE RISING OF 1715 187 

persuasion, informed Lord-Justice-Clerk Ormiston, 
by whom Colonel Stuart, commanding in the Castle, 
was put on his guard. Several of Drummond's men 

tarried in a tavern beyond the appointed hour ; of 
those who kept tryst, two or three were taken and 
the rest took to their heels. This was on 8th Sep- 
tember. Nothing further occurred to disturb the 
capital till 13th October, when Mackintosh of Borlum, 
having embarked some 2000 Highlanders in fishing 
boats on the Fife coast, sailed by night and managed 
to land four-fifths of them on the Lothian coast. He 
had orders from Mar (not very explicit) to march 
south and form a junction with the Jacobite levies 
of Northumberland and Galloway ; but there was as 
little cohesion among the leaders as there was dis- 
cipline among the troops. Instead of holding on 
to the south. Mackintosh thought he would make 
a dash at Edinburgh. The Lord Provost, however, 
was on the qui vive, called the civic force to arms, 
and sent an urgent appeal for help to the Duke 
of Argyll, commander-in-chief; wherefore, just as 
Mackintosh's Highlanders arrived before the Nether 
Bow, a squadron of dragoons entered by the West 
Port, led or followed by the Duke in person. 
Mackintosh, perceiving he had missed his chance, 
promptly retreated upon Leith, where he seized and 
occupied Cromwell's ruinous fort. 

After the rising had been put down, Edinburgh 
folk, as a consequence of the Union, were deprived 
of the edifying recreation of witnessing the execu- 


tion of those who were condemned as rebels. Even 
Scottish peers Hke Nithsdale, Wintoun, and Kenmure 
were sent to be tried in London, and all common men 
taken in arms north of the Border were brought before 
an assize at Carlisle. 

The great events impending in the summer of 
1745 cast no shadow before them over Edinburgh. 
Scottish townsmen and lowland lairds were far less 
concerned with any political questions than with 
the development of trade and agriculture, both of 
which had made good recovery from the paralysis 
of the old English wars and the later strife of creeds. 
The " killing time " of the seventeenth century had 
been left far behind, and the angry passions kindled 
by the Union question had flickered out. Society 
in Edinburgh was still marshalled as Whig and 
Jacobite ; but there was more banter than bitter- 
ness between the two factions. Of the ladies, two- 
thirds proclaimed themselves Jacobites, and one- 
third of the men were of the same persuasion, 
among them being Lord Provost Stewart, and the 
former and future Lord Provost George Drummond. 
Of the Bench and the Bar, the majority professed 
attachment to the Stuart cause ; but the senti- 
ment was mainly reminiscent, and occasioned no 
friction in social intercourse. The Presbyterian 
clergy, however, as a body were vehemently 

Throughout the first half of the eighteenth century, 
news travelled at a deliberate rate. Until the year 


1715, all the Scottish mails were carried by foot- 
runners ; the first mounted post being established 
in that year between Edinburgh and Stirling, to 
run three days a week. Two years later a mounted 
post was set up between Edinburgh and Glasgow, an 
early indication of the nascent importance of what has 
become the great industrial centre of Scotland. This 
service, also, was restricted to three days a week, and 
so was the mail to London, which took six days each 
way. But ordinary passengers had to rely on the 
stage-coaches, which, as appears in the following ad- 
vertisement in the Newcastle Courant, spent more 
than twice that time on the journey : 

Edinburgh, Berwick, Newcastle, Durham, and London Stage- 
coach begins on Monday, 13th October, 1712. All that desire 
to pass from Edinbro' to London, or from London to Edinbro"*, 
or any place on that road, let them repair to Mr John Baillie's, 
at the Coach and Horses at the head of the Canongate, every 
[other] Saturday, or the Black Swan in Holborn, every other 
Monday, at both of which places they may be received in a 
Stage-coach which performs the whole journey in thirteen days, 
without any stoppage (if God permit), having eighty able 
horses to perform the whole stage. Each passenger paying 
£4, 10s. for the whole journey, allowing each 20 lbs. weight, 
and all above to pay 6d. per lb. The coach sets off at six in 
the morning. Performed by Henry Harrison, Nich. Speichl, 
Ron. Garbe, Rich. Croft. 

In forty years the journey had been accelerated 
by no more than three hours ; for an advertisement 
in the Edinburgh Courant gives particulars of a six- 
horse stage-coach as " a new, genteel, two-end glass 
machine, hung on steel springs," warranted to do the 


trip in ten days in summer and twelve in winter 
"performed (if God permits) by your dutiful servant, 
HosEA Eastgate." 

Taking into consideration the existing facilities 
for travel, it is not surprising that in 1745 it was 
not until the 8th August that rumour reached 
Edinburgh of an event which was to set the citizens 
finely astir. He to whom the Jacobites were wont to 
pledge brimming bumpers as Prince Charles Edward, 
and whom the Whigs cursed as the Young Pretender, 
had landed in Arisaig on 25th July. 

The only troops in Edinburgh were Lascelle's 
Foot (now the North Lancashire Regiment) and a 
few gunners. There was also a detachment of 
Gardiner's Dragoons (now the 13th Hussars) at 
Musselburgh. The Lord Provost had at his 
command the old Train Band, numbering on paper 
1600 ; but perhaps his reason for not calling them 
out partook of prudence. The Whigs urged that 
a battalion should be raised for the defence of the 
city. " Illegal," replied the Provost, " without a 
royal warrant " ; but he despatched a messenger to 
London to obtain one. By the time he returned 
with it. Prince Charles had been in possession of 
Edinburgh for eight days I 

Sir John Cope, commander-in-chief, ordered a 
concentration of the troops in Scotland at Stirling, 
amounting in all to some 1200 horse and 3000 foot. 
By the time that was accomplished, 19th August, 
Prince Charles had raised his standard in Glenfinnan, 


and nearly 2000 clansmen had joined him. Marching 
by Dunkeld and Perth, gathering strength on the 
way, he crossed the Forth at the Ford of Frew, 
below Kippen, Gardiner's Dragoons faUing back 
before him without fleshing a sabre. On the 16th 
the Prince sent from Corstorphine a summons to the 
Lord Provost to surrender, threatening death to 
any citizen found under arms, and then advanced to 
Slateford on the Water of Leith, where his column 

Lord Provost Stewart was M.P. for the city, and, 
as aforesaid, a Jacobite ; but he was far too leal 
a man to betray his trust, even at the bidding of 
him whom he regarded as his rightful Prince.^ The 
commander-in-chief had left Edinburgh ; so had the 
judges. The Castle was under command of General 
Preston, aged eighty-six, with whom was Barrack- 
master General Guest, aged eighty-five. In this 
dilemma, Stewart consulted Patrick Haldane, one 
of the City Assessors, whether the summons should 
be read or suppressed. Haldane declined to give 
an opinion, saying the matter was too high for him. 
While they were deliberating, Gardiner's dragoons 
were seen flying pell-mell to Leith by the Lang 
Dykes (now Princes' Street). A crowd of towns- 
people beset the Lord Provost, beseeching him to 
avert bloodshed by surrendering the town. This he 

^ Stewart was afterwards sent to the Tower and imprisoned there 
for fourteen months, before he was tried and acquitted of having 
surrendered the city. 


sternly refused, though he had opened negotiations 
with the Prince for terms. His commissioners, re- 
turning from their interview in a hackney-coach at 
five o'clock in the morning of the 17th, found the 
Netherbow Port beset by a strong detachment of 
Highlanders under Lochiel. They were allowed to 
pass in unmolested ; but when the gate was opened 
a second time to let the driver return to his stables 
in the Canongate, the Highlanders rushed in, over- 
powered the City Guard — Highlanders like them- 
selves — and took peaceful possession of the city in 
the name of King James VIII. "Affairs in this 
city and neighbourhood," reported the Caledonian 
Mercury next day, " have taken the most surprising 
turn since yesterday without the least bloodshed 
or opposition, so that we have now in our streets 
Highlanders and bagpipes instead of dragoons and 

In the course of that morning the Prince led his 
main column by Prestonfield to the King's Park, 
where the men went into bivouac ; while he rode 
forward to Holyroodhouse, where an immense and 
enthusiastic crowd were waiting to welcome him. 
At noon the heralds proclaimed King James VIII. 
and Charles Prince Regent at the Market Cross. 

On the 19th the Prince slept at Duddingston 
with his troops, which he led next morning by 
Musselburgh to Tranent in order to attack Sir 
John Cope, who had brought his army back from 
Aberdeen to Dunbar by sea. Marching from 


Dunbar, Cope encamped at Prestonpans on the 20th, 
was attacked by the Prince's Highlanders at day- 
break on the 21st ; and before the sun was up, was 
in shameful flight to Berwick, leaving 500 of his 
men dead on the field. Of the Jacobite army (if 
that can be called an army which did not exceed 
the numbers of a modern brigade) only about thirty 
were killed. The Prince had been careful to bring 
carriages from Edinburgh for the wounded, of whom 
some 600 of Cope's men and seventy Highlanders 
were conveyed to the Royal Infirmary and Charity 
Workhouse. More than a thousand prisoners were 
interned in the Church and Tolbooth of the Canon- 
gate ; but the officers taken — 77 in number — were 
allowed to go free on parole within the city, until 
they were sent off a week later to Perth, still on 
parole. This brilliant affair set the Jacobites of 
Edinburgh in high spirits. Many who had been 
sitting on the fence, so to speak, dropped off on 
what seemed the winning side, and busy fingers 
were kept at work making white cockades for men 
and women. Nor was there wanting a bard to 
celebrate the triumph. Adam Skirving, a farmer in 
Garleton, near Haddington, set some verses to the 
popular old tune of "Fye to the hills in the morn- 
ing I " and whereas Allan Cunningham states that 
there came to be nineteen versions of Adam's lay, 
it seems but just to the poet to quote the actual 
words of the song to which the walls of Auld Reekie 

rang for many a day : 



Cope sent a challenge frae Dunbar, 
Charlie meet me an"* ye daur, 
And I'll learn you the art o' war, 
If you'll meet wi' me in the morning. 

Hey ! Johnnie Cope are ye waukin' yet ? 

Or are your drums a beatin' yet ? 

If ye were waukin' I wad wait 

To gang to the coals in the morning. 

When Charlie lookit the letter upon 
He drew his sword the scabbard from, 
" Come follow me, my merry men ! 

And we'll meet Johnnie Cope in the morning. 
Hey ! Johnnie Cope, etc. 

Now, Johnnie, be as good's your word ; 
Come let us try baith fire and sword. 
And dinna flee like a frighted bird 

That's chased frae its nest in the morning. 
Hey ! Johnnie Cope, etc. 

When Johnnie Cope he heard o' this. 
He thocht it wadna be amiss 
To hae a horse in readiness, 
To flee awa' in the morning. 
Hey ! Johnnie Cope, etc. 

Fye now ! Johnnie, get up and rin. 
The Hieland bagpipes mak' sic a din ; 
It's best to sleep in a hale skin, 
For 'twill be a bluidie morning. 
Hey ! Johnnie Cope, etc. 

When Johnnie Cope to Dunbar had come 
They speired ^ at him, " Whaur's a' your men ? " 
" The deil confound me if I ken. 
For I left them a' in the morning." 
Hey ! Johnnie Cope, etc. 

^ Inquired. 


Now Johnnie, troth, ye were na blate ^ 
To come wi"* the news o"* your ain defeat, 
And leave your men in sic a strait, 
Sae early in the morning. 

Hey ! Johnnie Cope, etc. 

" In faith," quo' Johnnie, " I got sic flegs ^ 
Wi' their claymores and filabegs. 
If I face them deil brak my legs, 
Sae I wish ye all a good morning ! " 
Hey ! Johnnie Cope, etc. 

The Castle, of course, was still held for King 
George, but the town was full of Highlanders — 
Camerons, Macdonalds, Murrays, and Stewarts of 
Appin, who, poor fellows I had " come out " at the 
summons of their chiefs, and who, as even the 
Whigs of Edinburgh were compelled to admit, 
exhibited none of the ferocity which had been 
expected of them. There was a total absence of 
rioting or drunkenness, and no serious interruption 
of business. The Caledonian Mercury, a Jacobite 
organ, and the Whig Evening Courant, not only 
appeared as usual, each thrice weekly, but maintained 
a full flow of advertisements. The two banks — the 
Old Bank (now the Bank of Scotland), founded in 
1697, and the New Bank (now the Royal Bank), 
founded in 1727 — had sent all their cash and 
securities into the Castle before the Prince's arrival, 
and, at first, communication between the town and 
the Castle was not interfered with. But on 27th 
September a blockade was declared, and a strong 

1 Ashamed. 2 gQ^h a friVht. 


guard was posted at the Weigh House, at the 
head of the Lawnmarket, a precaution to which 
General Guest repHed by bombarding the town, 
kiUing four persons and wounding others. On 
5th October the blockade was removed by the 
Prince's orders. 

For nearly seven weeks Prince Charles held his 
Court at Holyrood, receiving his oflficers every 

" At ten o'*clock he held a council, and an unruly council it 
often was. Then he dined in public with his principal gentle- 
men, while a crowd of all sorts of people watched him. After 
dinner he rode out with his Life Guards and inspected the 
troops, returning to Holyrood, where he received the ladies 
of fashion who came to his Court. He supped in public, 
when there was generally music, and after that dancing.^ 

The Prince himself, notwithstanding fond tradition 
to the contrary, never joined in the dance. In 1746, 
after this strange drama had ended in blood and 
tears, a Whig newspaper stated: " Charles loved the 
men better than the women ; and yet, which is 
wonderful, the less he courted them, the faster they 
followed him."^ Towards his sworn foes, the Pres- 
byterian clergy, the Prince showed a mortifying 
indifference.^ To a deputation of ministers who 

^ Edinburgh at the Time of the Occupation of Prince Charles, by 
W. B. Blaikie, p. 57. 

2 Op. cit., p. 50, 

8 At that time there was no Roman Catholic Church and no 
Jewish Synagogue in Edinburgh. There was a Protestant Episco- 
palian Church in Blackfriars' Wynd and a Seceders' Meeting House 
at Bristo. 


waited on him to ask permission to pray for King 
George, he rephed that no notice would be taken 
of anything they chose to say in their pulpits. He 
is reported to have been much amused when old 
Mr M'Neil, vicar of the West Kirk, offered prayer 
in these terms : " O Lord, bless the King ; Thou 
knowest what king I mean. May the crown long 
sit easy on his head ; and as for this man that is 
come among us to seek an earthly crown, we beseech 
Thee in Thy mercy to take him to Thyself and to 
give him a crown of glory 1 " 

The finance of this enterprise has not been made 
clear on all points. It is known that from the 
customs and city dues, Murray of Broughton, 
acting as the Prince's treasurer, collected about 
£6000 in notes of the New Bank. Probably he 
got a similar amount in Old Bank notes — say 
£12,000 in all; but it is not certain whether this 
included part of the assessment of 2s. 6d. in the 
pound of rental levied upon the citizens of Edin- 
burgh for the provision of camp equipment and 
military stores. From Glasgow £5500 was ex- 
acted, and various amounts from other towns ; 
besides which, voluntary subscriptions were paid by 
a few of the Jacobite gentry. 

On 31st October the Prince began his march 
for London, leaving behind him plenty of fair- 
weather enthusiasm for his cause among the leisured 
class, and a prevailing indifference among those 
who had their living to earn. His romantic person- 


ality ensured him a place in tender memory and 
imperishable song ; but the Lowland and city Scot 
is a practical creature. We may sigh, yet feel no 
surprise, when Mr Blaikie tells us that " one short 
year after the occupation we find a lady who had 
been one of the most enthusiastic Jacobites, and 
whose brother. Sir James Stewart, was in exile for 
his Jacobite loyalty, writing in the highest spirits 
of the gaieties of the town, of a ball in honour of 
King George's birthday, to which all the Jacobites 
were going, and exulting in the presence of so 
many officers to enhance the town's gaiety." Yet 
these officers had but just returned from the stricken 
field of CuUoden ! 

It calls for no slight exercise of imagination to 
construct a mental picture of the city wherein this 
romantic episode took place, so sweeping have been 
the changes that have come over the scene. A 
city set upon a plain like London or Berlin may 
increase ten- or twentyfold without impressing a 
visitor with a sense of its expansion. Subject to 
the removal or erection of conspicuous buildings, 
the general impression remains much the same, from 
whatever particular street the prospect is viewed. 
But in Edinburgh, so varied is the configuration of 
the ground — so bold are the natural features of 
the site and its vicinity — so wide the prospect from 
points of vantage — that the changes wrought upon 
the landscape cannot be overlooked. 

At the time of the Union the population of 






::- •*.: 















































• <*** 



Scotland did not much exceed one million souls, as 
compared with five millions and a half in England 
and Wales. Edinburgh probably contained 20,000 
inhabitants, a figure which, if insignificant compared 
with the 550,000 in London about that date, im- 
mensely exceeded that of any other town in Scot- 
land, Glasgow coming next with some 13,000, 
Dundee, Perth, Aberdeen, and St Andrews number- 
ing somewhere about 4000 each. Edinburgh, there- 
fore, besides its prerogative as the capital, held a 
high ascendancy over all competitors as a centre 
of social and industrial life. In 1740 it still kept 
a long lead over Glasgow, which had increased to 
a population of 17,000 ; and it was becoming yearly 
a problem more and more urgent how the growing 
population of Edinburgh was to provide itself with 
homes. The city was still of mediaeval character 
and appearance, consisting of a dense mass of lofty 
houses, crowded along the ridge of moraine and 
boulder clay which had gathered under the eastern 
lee of the Castle Rock during the glacial period, 
when the ice-mantle, perhaps 1000 or 2000 feet 
thick, was moving seaward, grinding the rocks into 
clay or carrying along ruptured masses of them. 
To the south of this hog's back the suburb of the 
Cowgate had grown up in the fifteenth century, 
and was enclosed in the wall erected after the 
national disaster of Flodden for the protection of 
the city. Neither city nor suburb contained any- 
thing that could be called a hotel ; visitors had to 


content themselves with what lodgings they could 
find in taverns or private houses, the quality of 
accommodation being precarious, as testified by 
Captain Topham and others. 

A person like you, who has always been accustomed to meet 
with downy pillows and splendid apartments in the hotels of 
Paris and Lyons, can scarcely form in imagination the distress 
of a miserable stranger on his first entrance into this city, as 
there is no inn that is better than an ale-house, nor any accom- 
modation that is decent, cleanly or fit to receive a gentleman. 
On my first arrival, my companion and self, after the fatigue 
of a long day's journey, were landed at one of these stable- 
keepers (for they have modesty enough to give themselves no 
higher denomination), in a part of the town which is called the 
Pleasance, and, on entering the house, we were conducted by a 
poor devil of a girl without shoes or stockings, and with only a 
single linsey-woolsey petticoat which just reached half-way to 
her ankles, into a room where about twenty Scotch drovers had 
been regaling themselves with whisky and potatoes. You may 
guess our amazement when we were informed that this was the 
best inn in the metropolis, that we could have no beds unless 
we had an inclination to sleep together and in the same room 
with the company which a stage-coach had that moment dis- 
charged. . . . On inquiry we discovered that there was a good 
dame by the Cross who acted in the double capacity of pouring 
out coffee and letting lodgings to strangers. She was easily to 
be found out ; and, with all the conciliating complaisance of a 
maitresse d'hotel, conducted us to our destined apartments, 
which were, indeed, six storeys high, but so infernal in appear- 
ance that you would have thought yourself in the regions of 

The long, narrow gorge to the north of the Old 
Town, now bisected and sadly shorn of its pristine 

1 Captain Topham' s Letters, pp. 18, \Q. 


grandeur by the Mound,^ and traversed through- 
out its length by the North British Railway, was 
still filled partly by the waters of the Nor' Loch, 
partly by swamp and thickets of " saugh." All the 
land beyond the Nor' Loch lay in well-cultivated 
farms and fat market gardens, interspersed with 
country gentlemen's mansions and small villages. In 
summer sundry tea-gardens were favourite places of 
resort for the citizens, such as that named "Peace 
and Plenty " occupying the present site of the Royal 
Bank in St Andrew Square. Wood's Farm, stretch- 
ing from the village of Canonmills south-westward 
to what is now Heriot Row and Bearford's Parks,^ 
extending thence over the ridge now crowned by 
St George's Church, abounded with partridges, hares 
and other game. The ancient manor-house of 
Drumsheugh stood where now is Moray Place, with 
Coates House farther to the west, sole survival of the 
mansions that existed when the New Town spread 
across this most rural district. It is an excellent 
example of Scottish domestic architecture of the late 
sixteenth or early seventeenth century, and it is well 
that it has been preserved as the deanery of the 

1 The Moundj now dignified by two fine examples of Doric and 
Ionic architecture designed by W. H. Playfair, must have been a 
hideous eyesore for many years while in process of construction. 
It originated about the year 1781 with the deposit of earth and 
rubbish thrown out of the foundation of the New Town^ and 
continued to grow till it reached its present dimensions, 800 feet 
long and 100 feet high, in 1830. 

2 So named after the owner Hepburn of Bearford in Haddington- 
shire. The land is specified as tcrrce de Barfurd in an Act of 1587. 


stately Episcopal Cathedral of St Mary's, for the 
building of which the late Misses Walker of Coates 
bequeathed £120,000.^ 

If it were possible to take a healthy family of the 
present time and set it down in Edinburgh as it was 
in the seventeenth or eighteenth century, it is doubt- 
ful whether a single member thereof would survive 
after a few weeks' exposure to the noisome condition 
of the town. That may not, indeed, have been 
worse than the state of many continental towns at 
that time, which would assuredly prove fatal to 
human beings whose constitution had not become 
inured to and, in some measure, immune from con- 
tagion ; nevertheless, all English and foreign visitors 
who have left their experience on record testify to 
the utter absence of the most rudimentary means 
of sanitation. It is not easy to convey a true im- 
pression of the state of the streets without offending 
modern susceptibilities ; but a few extracts from the 
writings of contemporary travellers may serve to illus- 
trate what might otherwise seem incredible, and enable 
the reader to trace out the cause of the periodic 
visitations of plague by which the Scottish capital 
was afflicted in 1513, 1530, 1568, and 1645 (to go no 
further back in the annals). 

Just as Erasmus (1467-1534), writing to his friend 

^ The architect was Sir Gilbert Scott, who died in 1878, a year 
before the cathedral was opened for service. At that date it 
was the largest ecclesiastical structure built in Europe since the 


Francis, complained of the filth of English houses 
and attributed the recurrence of plague and sweating 
sickness to the "pernicious vapours" exhaled from 
masses of corruption, so the Scottish poet Dunbar 
(1465-1530) addressed stern remonstrance to the 
magistrates of Edinburgh regarding the abominable 
condition of their streets. 

Both these men were in advance of their time. 
It is true that the High Street was paved for the 
first time in 1532, perhaps in consequence of Dunbar's 
appeal thirty years earlier. Well paved, too, as Sir 
William Brereton, a gentleman of Cheshire and 
traveller of varied experience, observed in 1636. 

The great street, which I do take to be an English mile long, 
is the best paved street with bowther stones that I have seen. . . . 
Here they usually walk in the middle of the street, which is a 
fair spacious and capacious walk. This street is the glory and 
beauty of this city ; it is the broadest street (except in the 
IjOw Countries, where there is a navigable channel in the middle 
of the street) and the longest street I have seen. . . . Indeed, 
if the houses, which are very high and substantially built of 
stone (some five, some six storeys high) were not lined to the 
outside and faced with boards, it were the most stately and 
graceful street that I ever saw in my life.^ 

Such was Brereton's first impression of the city; 
it was grievously modified on more intimate acquain- 
tance with it. 

This city is placed in a dainty, healthful, pure air, and doubt- 
less were a most healthful place to live in, were not the inhabit- 
ants most sluttish, nasty and slothful people. I could never 

1 Travels of Sir William Brereton (Chatham Society). 


pass through the hall, but I was constrained to hold my nose ; 
their chambers, vessel, linen and meat — nothing neat, but very 
slovenly. . . . The people . . . fetch not fresh water every day, 
but only every other day, which makes their water much worse 
(especially to drink), which, when it is at best, is bad enough. 
Their houses of office are tubs or firkins placed on end, which 
they never empty until they be full, so as the scent thereof 
annoy eth and offendeth the whole house. . . . Their houses, 
halls and kitchens have such a noisome taste — a savour, and 
that so strong, as it doth offend you so soon as you come 
within their walls ; yea, sometimes when I have light from my 
horse, I have felt the distaste of it before I have come into the 
house ; yea, I never came to my own lodging in Edenborough, 
or went out, but I was constrained to hold my nose, or to 
use wormwood or some such scented plant. 

The pewter, I am confident, is never scoured . . . only 
sometimes, and that but seldom, they do slightly rub them over 
with a filthy dish-clout, dipped in most sluttish, greasy water. 
Their pewter pots, wherein they bring wine and water, are 
furred within, that it would loathe you to touch anything 
which comes out of them. 

There is no ground for suspecting Brereton of 
prejudice or exaggeration in these remarks, for in all 
other respects he expresses himself as favourably 
impressed by the city and his reception there. It is, 
indeed, marvellous how a healthy and vigorous com- 
munity could exist amid such baneful indifference 
to cleanliness. Nor had the conditions improved 
seventy years later when, during the agitation im- 
mediately preceding the Union, an English barrister 
named Joseph Taylor^ recorded his impressions of 
the northern capital. 

^ Not to be confused with John Taylor, the Water Poet, who 
visited Edinburgh in I6I8. 

t » » t^ 


J " •» 

9i ^ A *f 

« 4 • d 

f s -• 



1 have been thus tedious in my account of Scotland because 
the bad character it lies under discourages most Gentlemen from 
travelling thither ; but I can't conclude without giving a relation 
of the causes which makes this country so much despis'd by the 
English. And here I need not go far for observation, every 
street shows the nastiness of the Inhabitants : the excrements 
lie in heaps. ... In a Morning the Scent was so offensive that 
we were forc't to hold our Noses as we past the streets & 
take care where we trod for fear of disobliging our shoes, & to 
walk in the middle at night for fear of an accident on our 
heads. The Lodgings are as nasty as the streets, and wash"'t so 
seldom that the dirt is thick eno' to be par'd off with a Shovel ; 
every room is well scented with a close stoole, and the Master, 
Mistress and Servants lye all on a flour, like so many Swine in 
a Hogsty. This, with the rest of their Sluttishness, is no 
doubt the occasion of the Itch, which is so common amongst 
them. We had the best lodgings we could get, for which we 
paid £B, 5s. Scots, being about lOd. a night English, and yet 
we went thro"* the Master's Bed chamber and the Kitchen and 
dark Entry, to our room, which look't into a place they call the 
close, full of Nastinesse. 'Tis a common thing for a Man or 
woman to go into these closes at all times of the day to ease 

It took more than a century of parliamentary and 
municipal pressure to compel the citizens to reform 
their ways. In February 1629 the Privy Council 
endeavoured to enforce some degree of decency and 
cleanliness, not, be it observed, from any apprehension 
on the score of public heath, but because King Charles 
was expected in that year for his coronation.^ They 
issued a warrant, therefore, for building up the east 
stile of the churchyard of Holyrood, because *' the 

^ A Journey to Edenhorough in Scotland, by Joseph Taylor, late 
of Inner Temple, Esquire. 

2 The king's visit was postponed till l638. 


people repairing to the burgh of Edinburgh from 
Musselburgh, Fisherrow, and other parts in East 
Lothian hes maid thair ordinaire passage throu the 
kirkyaird of Halyruidhouse, whilk they defyle with 
filth and otherwayis, especiallie at the verie syde of the 
kirk and direct under the windowes of his Majestie's 
galrie of Halyruidhouse, whilk will be verie unseemlie 
to be sene to strangers the time of his Majestie's heere 

Such solicitude for the nostrils of King Charles 
and his suite was as praiseworthy as it was salutary ; 
but trouble with his English Parliament caused his 
Majesty to postpone coming to Scotland till 1633, 
by which time the Provost and bailies had become 
sensible that their streets were not exactly in such a 
state as, so to speak, one might eat his dinner off 
them. At their meeting on 5th April 1633, finding 
"the Hie streets and public vennels of this burgh 
abound with all kynd of filth, to the reprotche of the 
toun when strangers doe repair to the same," it was 
resolved to employ " some honest man with ane kairt 
and hors " to carry off daily the abominations which, 
hitherto, had been allowed to fester for indefinite 

This, however, was but an enactment for a special 
occasion. The Town Council seem to have been 
prompted solely by the same laudable desire to 
avoid the " reprotche " of visitors, when they ordered 
the removal of the heads of certain malefactors from 
the spikes whereon they were set at the city gates. 


*» ^ 







*•% ■ 


• • 

« « 










* ^ 








" GARDYLOO 1 " 207 

After the coronation ceremonies were over, the 
burgesses were suffered to resume the good old 
custom of keeping all the household waste (for which 
" slops " would be an extravagant euphemism) till 
ten o'clock at night, when windows were thrown open 
and, with shrill cries of " Gardyloo 1 " ^ cascades of 
impurity were thrown into the streets. 

. . . Hark ! the clock strikes ten ; 
Now from a thousand windows cat'racts flow 
Which make a deluge in the streets below.^ 

And whither, it may be asked, was that deluge 
flowing ? Where but into the Nor' Loch, the sheet 
of water filling the basin on the north side of the 
Old Town, now drained, traversed by the North 
British Railway, and beautified by the garden craft 
of Mr M'Hattie — the Nor' Loch, originally set 
by Nature as a mirror to the mighty rock, but 
converted by Man into a receptacle for the worst 
kinds of impurity. Ay, ay I the scenic splendour of 
Edinburgh remains of no mean order; but think 
what a peerless landscape might have been the 
result had the Nor' Loch been preserved and purified, 
to lie like a silver shield between the Old and the 
New Towns ! 

In 1686 Parliament intervened with an Act for 
cleansing the streets of Edinburgh, in the preamble 

1 Another euphemism ; " Gardyloo ! " being a phonetic render- 
ing of Gardes Veau ! though the cascade contained many ingredients 
besides water. 

2 The Cloaciniad, an anonymous poem, 1761. 



whereof reference was made to "the many com- 
plaints of the nastiness of the streets, wynds, closes 
and other places of the city of Edinburgh, which 
is the Capital City of the Nation, where the chief 
judicatories reside and to which his Majestie's lieges 
must necessarily resort and attend." Again there 
was a temporary improvement. The Lords of 
Council levied a "stent" of £500 sterling yearly 
for three years upon all householders, and men were 
paid " for removing the dung which was then lying 
in the streets of the city and suburbs like mountains, 
and roads were cut through them to the closses and 
shops before whom [sic^ those great heaps or middens 


Matters had somewhat improved when Captain 
Topham sojourned in Edinburgh in 1774-75 — so far, 
at least, as affecting the High Street ; but pollution 
and seeds of disease still lurked in the slums. 

A gentleman who lately published his travels through Spain 
says that " Madrid, some years ago, might have vied with 
Edinburgh in fllthiness."^ It may probably be some pleasure 
to this author, and to those who read him, to learn that his 
remarks are now very erroneous. But if a stranger may be 
allowed to complain, it would be that in these wynds, which are 
very numerous, the dirt is sometimes suffered to remain two or 
three days without removal, and becomes offensive to more 

1 Edinburgh Clean d and the Countrey Improven. MS. Proposals 
signed by a number of Citizens, 1735. In the library of the 
Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. 

2 Travels through Portugal and Spain in 1772 and 1773, by 
Richard Twiss. 


senses than one. The magistrates, by imposing fines and other 
punishments, have long put a stop to the throwing of anything 
from the windows into the open street ; but as these alleys are 
unlighted, narrow, and removed from public view, they still 
continue these practices with impunity. Many an elegant suit 
of clothes has been spoiled — many a powdered, well-dressed 
macaroni sent home for the evening, and to conclude in Dr 
Johnston's simple words, " many a full-flowing periwig moistened 
into flaccidity." 

The same writer, while praising the police for their 
diligence, shows that the cleanliness of the main 
thoroughfares by day was effected by exceedingly 
primitive means. A bell was rung at a certain hour 
of the night, when "into the streets, as a common 
sewer, all the nuisances of the houses are emptied and 
immediately removed by persons appointed for that 
purpose. . . . But I cannot help observing the in- 
tolerable stench that is produced at this season of the 
night on the moving of the tub of nastiness from 
each floor. Such a concatenation of smells I never 
before was sensible of; it has been sometimes so 
powerful as to wake me, and prevent my sleeping 
till it was somewhat pacified." 

Such was the atmosphere — such the sordid en- 
vironment — for which the county fashionables were 
eager to exchange the free air of the hillside or the 
coast in order to take part in the gaieties of the 
Edinburgh season. Of the houses they occupied 
many have been "improved" away; those which 
remain excite our wonder that wealthy peers and 

refined women should be content with such quarters. 



These houses were called "lands,' and each was 
divided into separate tenements or flats for occupation 
by different families, who had to use a common stair. 
The town being confined to the narrow ridge between 
the Castle Hill and the Canongate, building sites 
were exceedingly limited, causing architects to pile 
storey upon storey to a height amazing to visitors, 
whose eyes had not become accustomed, as ours have 
been to our affliction, to such monstrous structures 
as Queen Anne's Mansions in London and the " sky- 
scrapers" of New York. When it is remembered 
that the water used in the town houses of the nobility 
and gentry in Old Edinburgh had to be carried up 
sometimes eight and ten storeys, that all refuse, 
sewage, and slops had to be carried down the same, 
or thrown out o' window, and that hydraulic or 
electric lifts (" hoists," as they are called in Scotland) 
were still undreamt of, it must appear that these 
" lands " were very undesirable abodes. 

One might imagine that this quaint old crowded 
town was an ideal field for the operations of cut- 
purses, footpads, and nocturnal marauders of all 
kinds. Its narrow, ill-lighted or unlighted streets, its 
labyrinthine winds and unsavoury closes, might seem 
to have been specially designed for deeds of violence 
and the easy escape of the perpetrators. Strange to 
say, Edinburgh compared very favourably with other 
cities of the period in this respect — with London 
especially. The functions of an official police were 
discharged by the City Guard, an armed force which 


■1 .3 J 



a •* 



took its origin in the obligation imposed upon every 
male citizen in 1513, consequent upon the alarm 
caused by the destruction of the Scottish army at 
Flodden. While every male citizen was required to 
provide himself with armour and weapons, and every 
fourth man had to go on duty each night, a Stand- 
ing Watch of four-and-twenty was enrolled for per- 
manent service. In 1648 the Standing Watch was 
increased to sixty men under command of a captain, 
constituting the City Guard. 

After a few years, however, the Town Council, 
grudging the expense of maintaining a paid guard, 
reverted to the earlier system of requiring the 
citizens to take their turn of police duty in rotation. 
This was not a success. So slack was the discipline, 
so inefficient the service, that in 1679 the Privy 
Council threatened to quarter troops in Edinburgh 
for the maintenance of order. Thereupon the 
magistrates reconstituted the City Guard, forty in 
number at first, increased in 1682 to 108, and levied 
a rate for its maintenance. The uniform was scarlet, 
the men were nearly all old Highland soldiers, carry- 
ing muskets and bayonets by day and Lochaber 
axes by night. The Guard shared with the 25th 
or Edinburgh Regiment the exclusive privilege of 
beating drums within the city of Edinburgh. 

In 1736 the City Guard was involved in a dire 
tragedy, of which Scott made picturesque use in The 
Heart of Midlothian \ but the novelist's hand is not 
cramped by the fetters of historic accuracy, and 


Scott avowedly equipped such incidents as this with 
a cocked hat and sword to fit them for this purpose. 
It is, indeed, not easy to recover the real facts in this 
case, so hard was the swearing on both sides in the 
trial which followed — so fiercely were men's minds 
inflamed against the authorities. 

Briefly, the course of events was somewhat as 
follows : — 

Smuggling, in those days, was an attractive, often 
lucrative enterprise, and, being especially brisk among 
the seaports of the coast of Fife, led to frequent con- 
flicts between the " fair traders " and the revenue men. 
One Wilson, having suffered loss at the hands of the 
gangers, determined to indemnify himself by robbing 
the collector of customs at Pittenweem. This he 
accomplished, in company with a young fellow named 
Robertson and two others ; but they were all taken 
and tried, Wilson and Robertson being sentenced to 
the gallows. They were lodged in the Tolbooth, 
together with two horse-stealers awaiting the same 
fate, and, among them, the prisoners managed to file 
through the iron window bars, drowning the noise 
by singing psalms. One of the horse-stealers got 
through the opening all right; but Wilson insisted 
on going next, and, being a stout fellow, stuck fast. 
The alarm was given, the Guard turned out, and 
three out of the four prisoners were locked up again 

Now Wilson, it seems, was not such a rascal as to 
be insensible to the principle of "honour among 

J » » 


•I ri J 
A .1 J 

• • 


thieves." He knew that all his comrades in misfor- 
tune might have gone free but for his own too 
massive person, and he resolved to save young 
Robertson if that were possible. On Sunday before 
the day when they were to be hanged, the two 
prisoners were marched under escort of four of the 
City Guard to hear sermon in the Tolbooth Kirk — a 
section of St Giles's Church. At the end of the 
service, while the congregation was '* skailing," ^ 
Wilson saw his opportunity. Seizing a soldier in 
each hand, and a third with his teeth, he shouted, 
" Rin, Geordie, rin ! " Robertson felled the fourth 
soldier, escaped in the throng, and was seen no more ; 
but the gallant Wilson was led out to the gibbet in 
the Grassmarket on 14th April. He was a popular 
hero by this time, and a rescue was contemplated ; 
but the City Guard were reinforced for the occa- 
sion by a detachment of Welsh Fusiliers, and the 
mob could effect nothing more than pelting the 
City Guard as they marched back up the West 
Bow, which, it is alleged, they did to some purpose, 
smashing the drums and wounding some of the 

Captain John Porteous, commanding the City 
Guard, had risen from the ranks of the Scots 
brigade in Holland and received a commission in 
the British army. Dr Alexander Carlyle, who, 
as a lad of fourteen, witnessed what followed, says 
that Porteous was popular in society and a fine 

^ Scottish term for the dispersal of a meeting. 


golfer; but other accounts represent him as a 
hard-drinking martinet of rough manners and violent 
temper. Carlyle declares that though there was a 
great crowd, there was not the slightest attempt at 
a rescue, only the usual demonstration of hatred 
against the hangman ; nevertheless, Porteous halted 
his men and gave the order to fire, and, adds Carlyle, 
"when the soldiers showed reluctance, I saw him 
turn to them with a threatening gesture and inflamed 
countenance." ^ The windows facing the Grassmarket 
were as thickly crowded with spectators as they were 
wont to be at executions ; some of these onlookers 
were struck by bullets, for the soldiers fired high, 
trying to spare the people on the pavement. The 
march was resumed ; but there was more firing 
when the column reached the West Bow. In all, 
some seventeen men and women were killed or 

Popular indignation flamed fiercely. Porteous 
was arrested and tried for murder. He was accused, 
in particular, of having himself fired the first shot, 
killing one Charles Husband who had cut down 
Wilson from the gallows. Porteous denied that 
he had either fired himself or given the command 
to fire. Sir William Forbes and the Hon. William 
Fraser, witnesses for the Crown, declared that they 
saw Porteous fire before any of his men did so. 
Other witnesses swore that they had heard him 
forbid the men to fire. Obviously both statements 

1 Carlyle's Autobiography, p. 37. 





















































might be true; anyhow, the accused was found 
guilty and sentenced to be hanged on 8th September. 

King George II. being on the Continent at the 
time, Porteous addressed a petition to Queen 
CaroHne ; who, probably being advised that the 
evidence was as strong in his favour as against him, 
granted a respite of six weeks. This inflamed the 
populace to the last pitch. After dark on 7th Sep- 
tember, a mob assembled at the West Port ; the 
City Guard, called out to disperse them, were over- 
powered and disarmed ; the rioters seized the city 
gates ; General Moyle, commanding the garrison, 
very properly declined to act without instructions 
from one of the Lords of Session, and it was an hour 
past midnight before authority could be obtained 
from the Lord Justice Clerk, who lived three miles 
out in the country. By that time the door of the 
Tolbooth had been destroyed by fire ; Porteous had 
been taken out of his cell, led down to the Grass- 
market and hanged on a dyer's pole. The ghastly 
affair seems to have been conducted throughout 
with singular solemnity. No other mischief was 
done by the lynchers, who paid a shopkeeper a 
guinea for the rope. " I will not call them Mobb," 
wrote the Earl Marischal, "who made so orderly 
an execution." There can be no doubt that the 
rioters commanded much sympathy from all ranks 
of society. 

The union with England was still young, and old 
sores were still raw. Scotsmen in general were intensely 


jealous of interference from London ; smuggling, 
the outcome of the novel custom-house — an English 
importation — was very far from being deemed dis- 
graceful; Wilson was considered a martyr, and it 
was held intolerable that the course of Scottish 
justice should be arrested by a reprieve sent down 
from the English Home Office. On the other part. 
King George's Government determined to chastise 
the City of Edinburgh for the affront put upon the 
Queen Regent ; an Act was passed disabling Provost 
Wilson from public office and imposing a fine of 
X2000, to be applied to the support of Captain 
Porteous's widow. Provisions for abolishing the 
City Guard and razing the Nether Bow Port were 
struck out in Committee. 

The City Guard, therefore, remained as the only 
municipal provision for the protection of life and 
property in the Scottish capital. An armed civil 
force, deterred by the fate of Captain Porteous from 
using their arms in the maintenance of order, was 
little suited for the duties of ordinary, still less of 
detective, police. Moreover, the Town Council were 
not very scrupulous in appointments to the command 
of the force, exercising their patronage sometimes in 
favour of needy members of their own corporation, 
without much regard to their fitness for the post. 
John Kay has portrayed three of those who held 
the post in his day, namely, Pitcairn, a bankrupt 
cloth-merchant, who forfeited the appointment in 
1767 on being convicted of importing bad halfpence 




























from England ; Robertson, who had served in the 
Dutch army ; and Pillans, a brewer in the city, who 
held the command till his death in 1788. All the 
more remarkable, therefore, was the security enjoyed 
by the citizens of Edinburgh against crimes of 
violence and theft, especially when one remembers 
how country gentry and their families crowded into 
the city during the season, bringing plate, jewels, 
and other valuables to be stored in the inconvenient, 
dimly-lighted "lands." This security was owing in 
large measure to the vigilance of a singular body 
of men voluntarily organised as the Society of 
Cadies.^ Captain Topham, writing from Edinburgh 
in 1775, gives a lively description of these fellows : 

Whether the extreme good order aiidregularity which is observed 
in the streets, and the very few robberies which are committed, 
are entirely owing to these military men [the City Guard] or 
not, is rather difficult to determine. I believe there are other 
people of a more civil [civilian] nature who share with them the 
hardships as well as the honour of accomplishing so great a 
task. These are a set of men who are called in this country Cadies, 
and who have been formed many years into a society for their 
own emolument and the public good — a society which is probably 
as useful and extraordinary as ever existed. To tell you what 
these people do is impossible ; for there is nothing, almost, 
which they may not do. They are the only persons who may 
truly be said to have attained universal knowledge, for they know 
everything and everybody ; they even know sometimes what you 

^ The term "cadie" or "caddie/' which the spread of golf has 
rendered familiar in all parts of the world, is a derivative or corrup- 
tion of the French cadet. In English the opprobrious "cad" has 
been shortened from the same word, in the same manner as " cab " 
from "cabriolet." 


do, better than you yourself. The moment a stranger comes 
into Edinburgh, they know it ; how long he is to stay ; whither 
he is going; where he comes from, and what he is. ... A 
certain number of them stand all day long and most of the 
night at the top of High Street waiting for employment. Who- 
ever has occasion for them has only to pronounce the word 
" Cadie,"" and they fly from all parts to attend the summons. 
Whatever person you want, they know immediately where he is 
to be found. Trust them with what sum of money you please, 
you are quite safe ; they are obliged by the rules of their Order 
to make good everything they lose. A gentleman once sent 
one of these Mercuries with a letter inclosing bills for some 
hundred pounds; the man lost it, and the Society restored the 
sum to the proprietor. 

These men act likewise in the capacity of Sir John Fielding's 
Thief-takers in London, and take all the thieves here, as they 
have intelligence of all the places where such a person is likely 
to be found. In short, nothing can escape them. . . . These are 
the people who are the great means of preserving the public 
peace, and of preventing all those crimes which are generally 
perpetrated under a Police which is ill observed.^ 

In another letter Captain Topham writes : 

They execute all commands at a very reasonable price. 
Whether you stand in need of a valet-de-place^ a pimp, a thief- 
catcher or a bully, your best resource is to the fraternity of 
Cadies. In short, they are the tutelary guardians of the city ; 
and it is entirely owing to them that there are fewer robberies 
and less housebreaking in Edinburgh than anywhere else.^ 

The City Guard was finally disbanded in 1817, but 
it was represented in the person of two of its sur- 
vivors at the laying of the foundation-stone of the 
Scott Monument in 1846. Some relics of this 
ancient force are preserved in the National Museum 

1 Letters from Edinburgh written in the Years 1774 ^^ 177 5 ^ p. 358. 
« Ihid., p. 87. 


of Antiquities in Queen Street, in the shape of 
an embroidered coat, two cocked hats, and a few 
Lochaber axes. 

It was not only in criminal cases that the people of 
Edinburgh were wont to take such vehement interest 
as led to disorder. 

No civil suit has ever caused such fiery excitement 
in the capital, or, indeed, in Scotland generally, as 
what became known as " the Douglas Cause." Lady 
Jane Douglas, daughter of the second Marquess of 
Douglas, became betrothed to the Earl of Dalkeith, 
afterwards second Duke of Buccleuch ; but the match 
was broken off through the intrigues of the Duchess 
of Queensberry. Thereafter Lady Jane lived for 
many years at Drumsheugh House, on the outskirts 
of Edinburgh, until 1746, when, being forty-eight 
years of age, she secretly married Colonel, afterwards 
Sir John, Stewart, a former lover with whom she had 
parted ten years previously owing to a misunder- 
standing. Stewart being practically a penniless 
soldier. Lady Jane concealed her marriage, fearing 
lest her brother, third Marquess and first Duke of 
Douglas, with whom she was on bad terms, should 
stop her allowance. She quitted Scotland with her 
husband, and they travelled on the Continent as 
Mr and Mrs Gray. In 1748, being then in her 
fiftieth year, she gave birth to twin boys in Paris, 
and wrote to inform her brother, the duke, of the 
fact. He refused to believe her, stopped her al- 
lowance and, when she returned to London, declined 


to receive her. In 1752 Lady Jane brought her 
children to Edinburgh, where one of the boys died, 
and she herself died in the following year. Mean- 
while the Duchess of Douglas had been exerting 
all her influence over the duke to persuade him to 
sift the case of his sister to the bottom. She suc- 
ceeded ; the duke became convinced that his surviv- 
ing nephew, Archibald, was his sister's legitimate son, 
revoked the existing entail of his great estates and 
settled them upon him. On the duke's death in 
1761, Archibald was at once served heir to the 
estates, in spite of the opposition of the heir male, 
the Duke of Hamilton, upon whom the inheritance 
would have devolved could Archibald have been 
proved to be, as was alleged, the child of a French- 
woman fraudulently represented as Lady Jane s. 

Next, the Duke of Hamilton raised an action in 
the Court of Session to prove his claim. The trial 
began in 1762 and ended in 1767, by the fourteen 
judges being equally divided in opinion. Lord 
President Dundas giving the casting vote against 
Archibald Douglas. People of all classes in Edin- 
burgh had hotly espoused the Douglas cause ; before 
the close of the trial the Duke of Hamilton's family 
had to leave the city, so great was the uproar, and the 
apartments which he occupied in Holyroodhouse as 
Hereditary Keeper of the Palace were broken into 
and plundered by the mob. Douglas's guardians 
then appealed to the House of Lords, where, after 
eighteen months further litigation, the judgment of 


the Court of Session was reversed, Archibald Douglas 
being declared to be the son of Lady Jane Stewart 
and rightful heir to the Douglas estates. When 
tidings of the reversal reached Edinburgh, there was 
a renewal of rioting. It is said that James Boswell, 
the obsequious biographer of Samuel Johnson, being 
a perfervid partisan of Douglas, headed the mob that 
broke the windows of his father, Lord Auchinleck, 
who had cast his vote for Hamilton. 


By the middle of the eighteenth century the people 
of Edinburgh, recognising the chief reason for the 
increasing wealth of the country, had well-nigh laid 
aside their resentment against the Union. The '45, 
so far as it affected them in particular and the 
Lowland folk in general, had proved but an 
agitating and somewhat costly interlude. There 
were still many well-to-do persons in the city who, 
in pledging the King's health, religiously passed the 
bumper over the water-bottle ; ^ still many ladies 
who, the white cockade being proscribed, defiantly 
pinned white roses in their bosoms with a sigh for 
Bonnie Prince Charlie ; but these memorials of a lost 
cause did nothing to interrupt social amenities — not 
so much at least, so far as can be gathered, as did 
the Home Rule controversy in our own time. 

Neither the excessive conviviality which prevailed, 
nor the sterilising influence of Calvinism which had 

* I am told, though I cannot vouch for the truth of it, that 
finger-glasses were never set on the dinner-table in Buckingham 
Palace, lest Jacobite guests should clandestinely drink to the 
king "over the water," until King Edward VII. caused them to 
be brought into use again. 



From a mezzotint by G. White after the painting by W. Aikman. 


S W * ri *^ ^ i 

• J •< • »■ ,■ 



■• « 


turned on the wane, sufficed to smother the intellec- 
tual revival which— post vel propter ^oc— began to 
make itself felt immediately after the Union. The 
chief obstacle to literary enterprise lay in the 
northern dialect— Broad Scots— which was habitually 
spoken by the highest as well as the lowest. Ramsay 
of Ochtertyre mentions it as something remarkable 
that Sir Gilbert Elliot " among his other accompUsh- 
ments, not only wrote, but spoke English." Allan 
Ramsay the elder (1686-1758) was the true pioneer 
of the revival of letters in the North, and wrote 
naturally in the Scottish dialect. He started in 
life as a wigmaker, joined the Jacobite Easy Club, 
whereof he became the laureate in virtue of his 
facility in verse-making. About the year 1717, 
having conceived an ambition to minister to the 
inside, instead of the outside, of his customers' heads, 
he converted his wigmaking booth in the High 
Street into a bookstall, and in 1721 made four 
hundred guineas by the sale of a volume of his 
own poems. The Tea-Table Miscellany and The 
Evergreen followed in 1724-27, The Gentle Shepherd 
appearing in 1725, and in 1726 the poet-publisher 
moved to more spacious premises in the Lucken- 
booths. His original poems commanded popularity 
from the first ; and by his collections of old Scottish 
verse he created a taste which was to have a lasting 
influence far beyond his native country. As the 
editor of ancient ballads he was very unscrupulous 
in the way he trimmed the rugged verse which had 


been repeated from lip to lip by generations, whereby 
he incurred censure from Lord Hailes ; but he 
tuned the lyre which had long lain unstrung and 
which was to yield a fuller harmony under the hand 
of Burns, who frankly owned Ramsay as his model. 
Sir Walter Scott, too, felt his influence, for he 
wrote on his copy of The Tea-Table Miscellany: 
"This book belonged to my grandfather, Robert 
Scott, and out of it I was taught Hardiknute by 
heart before I could read the ballad myself. It 
was the first poem 1 ever learnt — the last I shall 
ever forget." ^ As the acknowledged master of two 
such disciples, even those who might be sensible of 
a soporific influence in The Gentle Shepherd will 
agree that undue honour has not been paid to the 
memory of Ramsay in the statue which now 
stands in Princes Street Gardens. 

The attitude of the Presbyterian clergy towards 
the intellectual movement has to be taken into 
account. A hundred years had wrought a notable 
change in their relation to society. They were no 
longer the illiterate zealots of the seventeenth century. 
Pennant, whose Tour in Scotland was published 
in 1771, declared that he found them "the most 
decent and consistent in their conduct of any set 
of men I ever met with in their order," and con- 
trasted them favourably with "the furious, illiterate 
and enthusiastic teachers of old times." The General 
Assembly could no longer wield the dire engine 

1 Autobiography. 

ALLAN Ramsay's house. 

* • " 

i 4 

4 «f2 « .1 



of excommunication ; indeed, the great majority of 
its members would have shrunk from claiming the 
awful powers of boycotting not only claimed, but 
exercised, by Knox's Church ; ^ yet the influence 
upon Edinburgh society which they still exerted 
through an enlightened exercise of the pastoral 
office was hardly less than their predecessors in 
the pulpit had acquired through terrorism. AVhile 
relaxing none of the earnestness with which they 
discussed and differed upon points of doctrine and 
practice among themselves, they had laid aside 
acrimony in argument; ecclesiastical Billingsgate 
was indulged in only by ministers of the Secession 
in their fierce revolt against lay patronage. 

There were, of course, as there always have been 
and must be in every form of Church government, 
two rival parties in the Establishment. The " High- 
fliers " or Calvinist school were led by Dr Alexander 
Webster of the Tolbooth Kirk, a divine of com- 
manding presence and fiery eloquence. Perhaps 
nothing better illustrates the tone and habits of 
Edinburgh society at this time than the fact that 
Webster had earned for himself the sobriquet of 
Dr Magnum Bonum, in virtue of the power he 
enjoyed of consuming prodigious quantities of claret, 

1 The Scottish Reformers assumed all the power of excommuni- 
cation vested in the Church of Rome. In 1578 Andrew Melville 
explained to Beza that "civil penalties, according to the law 
and custom of our country, accompany the sentence of ex- 
communication " ; and mentions how the nobles objected to the 
sentence taking effect, unless confirmed by the Privy Council. 



whereby he could, and it is said often did, drink 
the most hardened topers under the table without 
forfeiting his own decorum. Ramsay of Ochtertyre 
has left a graphic sketch of this formidable divine 
in his autobiography. 

Dr Webster's greatest admirers knew and regretted his 
fondness for company, which was his great infirmity. ... It 
was hardly in the power of liquor to affect his understanding 
or limbs. . . . There was something so fascinating in his con- 
verse, yet withal so innocent, instructive, and befitting his 
function, that rigour itself could have found no fault, so long 
as the bulk of the company kept sober. . . . But after every 
mitigating circumstance is stated, Dr Webster cannot be entirely 
vindicated for spending so much of his time in taverns or in 
private houses where hard drinking took place. . . . Assuredly 
it was liot edifying to see a respectable and virtuous clergyman 
consorting so much with the ebrii and ebrioli who were seen 
reeling home from his parties."^ 

The leader of the Moderates was Dr Alexander 
Carlyle, minister of Inveresk — "the grandest demi- 
god I ever saw," said Sir Walter Scott ; " commonly 
called 'Jupiter Carlyle,' from having sat more than 
once for the king of gods and men to Gavin 
Hamilton." ^ In the long course of his ministry he 
strove indefatigably against the narrow restrictions 
of Calvinism. He helped his friend John Home, 
minister of Athelstaneford, in the preparation of 
his tragedy Douglas, and brought upon himself the 
wrath of the Presbytery of Dalkeith for attending 
not only the rehearsals, but the public performance 

^ Scotland and Scotsmen, vol. i. p. 257. 
2 Lockhart's Life, iv. p. 146. 


of this piece/ The Presbytery sent him before the 
Synod of Lothian to answer for his offence — for the 
stage had hitherto been banned by preachers as the 
very sink of iniquity ; but the Synod decided that, 
although play-going by a minister was a censurable 
offence, it was a matter '*for privy censure or 
brotherly conference," not for deprivation. Against 
this judgment the Presbytery appealed to the 
General Assembly; but that supreme body affirmed 
the finding of the Synod by 117 votes to 80, which 
was hailed as a notable victory for the Moderates. 
But what marked more clearly than anything else 
how far the Moderates of the Church of Scotland 
had departed from the primitive intolerance of 
Presbyterianism, was the line taken by Carlyle 
in opposing a resolution moved in the General 
Assembly against the obligation imposed upon 
Presbyterians, in common with members of all 
other forms of religion, to receive the Holy Com- 
munion according to the Anglican form before 
holding office in England. Carlyle said in his 
speech that "he must be a very narrow-minded 
Presbyterian who could not join in the religious 
worship of the Church of England." In his long 
battle for tolerance and freedom Carlyle had a 
puissant ally in William Robertson, Principal of the 

1 Proceedings were taken by the Presbytery against Home as 
the author of the play ; but he anticipated the result by resigning 
his living. The tragedy of Douglas had a long and successful run 
both in Edinburgh and London, notwithstanding that Dr Johnson 
declared there were "not ten good lines in the whole play." 


University from 1762, and appointed by George III. 
Historiographer of Scotland. 

Carlyle made some contributions to the rising 
literature of Edinburgh ; his Autobiography (first 
published in 1860) has been pronounced to be the 
best mirror of Scottish socie'ty in the eighteenth 
century. The extent to which he and the Moderates 
succeeded in altering the attitude of the clergy 
towards secular entertainment may be judged by 
what happened on the occasion of Mrs Siddons 
appearing on the Edinburgh stage in 1784. She 
acted only on alternate nights, and on those nights 
the General Assembly suspended its sittings, because 
a quorum could not be induced to attend ! 

Despite the discomfort and the positive danger to 
health described in the last chapter as arising from 
the insanitary conditions under which the population 
lived, Edinburgh society had developed into a micro- 
cosm of all that is best and worst in human inter- 
course. The leaders of that society were not rich 
enough to set a mischievous example of luxury, 
though it must be owned that the prevailing sim- 
plicity of scale in living did not suffice to prevent, 
or even to discourage, excessive drinking. It was a 
drunken century, and while the well-to-do English 
(the austere Johnson as well as the bibulous Boswell) 
measured their daily allowance of port by the bottle, 
Scottish and Irish gentlemen wasted far too much 
of their substance upon claret and punch. Duncan 
Forbes of CuUoden, who rose to be Lord President 

From a water-colour drawing by G. Cattermole. 

•> *l o 

« '.- 


9 « 







of the Court of Session, was distinguished above his 
fellows for common sense, foresight, and cool judg- 
ment ; yet one cannot trace in the social habits of his 
day any particular reason for his denunciation of " the 
villainous practice" of drinking "that abominable 
drug" — tea — whereof in 1742 he seriously advocated 
the total prohibition by Act of Parliament, exempting 
the upper classes only on condition that every person 
persisting in this pernicious indulgence should pay a 
yearly poll-tax I Forbes himself, like most of his 
colleagues on the Scottish bench, was a confirmed 
toper. " In his youth and prime," says Ramsay of 
Ochtertyre, " he drank hard, and to the last went to 
the very verge of sobriety, considering the juice of 
the grape, in connection with easy-spirited conversa- 
tion, as the best cordial an old man immersed in 
business could have."^ 

The same authority pronounces Robert Dundas 
of Arniston to have been the ** greatest Scottish 
lawyer of the eighteenth century," both as counsel 
and judge, although his habits seem to have been 
such as are not usually associated with clear 

He was all his life exceedingly fond of company, or, in other 
words, of the bottle, without which, in those days, there was 
little society. Besides frequent potations at his own house at 
Edinburgh after business was over, he was often in the tavern. 
. . . A great deal was to be learned from him over his cups, 
which was not to be had from books or from other people.^ 

^ Scotland and Scotsmen, vol. i. p. 57, 
2 Ibid,, p. 71. 


On the other hand, another judge, Grant Lord 
Prestongrange, was unpopular because he kept sober 
at the circuit table. " This rendered him unaccept- 
able to many guests, who had been accustomed to 
judges of a more frank and jovial disposition, who did 
not pride themselves upon their temperance. They 
imputed his shyness and habitual sobriety to parsi- 
mony, which made him grudge his wine."^ 

The national drink of Scotland at the time of the 
Union, and for centuries before it, was claret. Among 
the debts left by Alexander III. at his death in 1285 
was one of £2197, 8s. for corn and wine supplied by 
a merchant of Gascony, who accepted the customs of 
the port of Berwick in security. Even to the present 
time the wine merchants of Edinburgh and Leith 
retain a special reputation in trade with Bordeaux. 
John Knox himself was by no means so ascetic in 
his diet as one is apt to suppose. At all events he 
was hospitably solicitous for the good cheer of his 
guests ; witness the following passage in the account 
of his last hours written by his secretary Richard 
Bannatyne. "The Setterday, Johne Durie and 
Archbald Stewart came in about 12 hour is, not 
knowing how seike he was ; and for thair cause [he] 
came to the table, which was the last time he sat at 
any thereafter ; for he caused peirce ane hoggeid of 
wine which was in the seller, and willed the said 
Archbald send for the same, so long as it lasted, for 
he would never tarry until it were drunken." Just 

^ Scotland and Scotsmen, vol. i. 

> < « « 


From Kay's Edinburgh Portraits,. 

* •> 


before the end, says Bannatyne, " sumtymes he wald 
bid weit his mouth with a Utill waike aile." Ale was 
drunk by the working-class ; whisky appears to have 
been confined to the Highlands; but towards the 
middle of the century Forbes of CuUoden brought it 
into favour in Edinburgh, and whisky-punch entered 
into rivalry with the ruby wines of the MMoc. It 
must, indeed, have been difficult for any man with a 
head of moderate strength to keep sober without giving 
offence either to his host or his fellow-guests. The 
tedious habit of calling toasts, and the more graceful 
one of guests inviting each other to " A glass of wine 
with you, Sir," were snares not easy to escape, especi- 
ally when the injunction '' No heel-taps ! " could not 
be disregarded without a breach of what were 
reckoned good manners. In the early part of the 
century, the dinner hour was at noon, or shortly 
after, and supper was the chief occasion for convivi- 
ality ; but when dinner came to be postponed by 
fashionable people till three or four o'clock, it left a 
long evening to be got through, during which the 
bottles usually circulated only too freely. It was 
not until the last quarter of the nineteenth century 
that tobacco brought wine-drinking after dinner to 
an end. Snuff-taking certainly exerted no restraint 
upon drinking ; although, in the eighteenth century, 
it was so universal among men, and, for a short time, 
fashionable among smart women, as to cause Coleridge 
to declare that snuffing might be considered the 
original purpose of the human nose. 


Among the judges, Henry Home Lord Kames was 
a chief promoter of the Uterary revival in Edinburgh. 
His own industry in letters absorbed more time and 
energy than was considered consistent with his pro- 
fessional duties ; but he did not leave anything of 
permanent merit in his voluminous writings. Gold- 
smith observed of Kames's Elements of Criticism that 
the book must have been far easier to write than it 
was to read ; and when Boswell was defending the 
quality of Scottish literature he said to Johnson: 
*'But, Sir, we have Lord Kames." "Yes," replied 
Johnson, " you have Lord Kames. Keep him — ha, 
ha, ha! We don't envy you." Nevertheless, Kames 
did much both to encourage young writers and 
to stimulate a taste in literature. Admission to 
his supper-parties became a privilege much coveted, 
and he delighted in forming the taste and increasing 
the knowledge of attractive young women. 

Of inferior reputation as a judge compared with 
Lord Kames, Sir David Dalrymple, who assumed 
the forensic title of Lord Hailes, was his superior 
in literary accomplishment. He applied his critical 
faculties to good purpose in the fields of Scottish 
history. In his Annals of Scotland he ran many a 
successful tilt against the mythopoeic chroniclers of 
the past; and, notwithstanding all the diligent re- 
search which has been concentrated upon Scottish 
history since the publication of the national records, 
one still has cause to regret that he never fulfilled 
his purpose of carrying on the narrative to include 


From Kay's Edinburgh Portraits. 

4*a • 
4 •»* 


the reign of James I., instead of bringing it to a 
close with that of David II. The Hbrary which 
he fitted up for himself at New Hailes, and stored 
with a very large collection of books, remains to this 
day at once a monument to his erudition and one 
of the most perfect shrines of literature that could 
be designed. 

In his successful endeavour to revive an interest 

in Scottish literature, the elder Ramsay had ready 

to his hand a considerable store whereon to draw, let 

alone his original poems ; but his son, Allan Ramsay 

the younger (1713-84), must have received little 

inspiration from the art treasures of Edinburgh when 

he adopted painting as a profession. " From before 

the Reformation," sighs Mr James Caw, " during the 

course of which much art-work was destroyed or 

taken out of the country, scarce a dozen authentic 

portraits remain," ^ and these are from the hands of 

Flemish or French painters. The fact is, that for 

a century and a half before the Union in 1707, 

very few Scottish lairds or merchants had any cash 

to spare on portraits. George Jameson of Aberdeen 

(? 1588-1644) is the earliest Scottish painter of whose 

work anything is known to survive at this day. 

After the Restoration matters improved somewhat. 

Michael Wright (? 1625-1700) and John Scougal 

(? 1645-? 1730), both Scottish artists, have left some 

good work in portraiture; but, although Scougal 

managed to make a living in his studio in the Advo- 

^ Scottish Portraits, p. x. 


cates' Close, Wright migrated to London to avoid 
starvation; and so did William Aikman (1682-1731). 
Aikman was a Forfarshire laird, and it was by 
his advice and example that young Ramsay went 
to study painting in Rome. Returning home about 
1740, he found plenty of sitters, and acquired great 
popularity both on account of his skill in portraiture 
and of his charm of manner. The son of the quondam 
wigmaker became a leader of fashion, causing much 
offence to strict Presbyterians by introducing stage- 
plays and organising dancing assemblies. Clubs 
being already all the vogue in Edinburgh (most of 
them, it must be owned, existing chiefly for the 
consumption of claret and punch), Ramsay founded 
one upon higher lines, called the Select Society, 
which, its somewhat arrogant title notwithstanding, 
was a successfrom the first, and imparted to Edinburgh 
social life a literary and intellectual tone whereof the 
tradition and, in good measure, the traces remain to 
this day. Beginning with fifteen members only, and 
meeting in the inspiring environment of the Advo- 
cates' Library, admission to the Select Society soon 
became a much coveted distinction, so that before 
long the membership rose to over one hundred. The 
names of David Hume, Adam Smith, Dr Alexander 
Carlyle, John Home, Professor Wilkie, Lord Hailes, 
Lord Monboddo, Principal Robertson, and Lord 
Kames indicate the wide range of opinion and pro- 
fession embraced in this remarkable coterie, which 
did much to restore the Scottish clergy to their right 









• «' 

*» , 


•t" ^^w* 

• <. 

4«*» - 




*« « - 

« •» 



« • ' *" 






*-*- . 










of ranking with the wits — a right which had been 
brought grievously in jeopardy by the rehgious 
excesses of the previous century.^ 

Painters, however, Hke other folk, have to live; 
the persons in Scotland who could aiFord to be painted 
were still very limited in number, and Allan Ramsay 
went off to try his fortune in liOndon. There he 
found as much work to his hand as he could accom- 
plish, and gained reputation equally as a portrait 
painter and a social favourite. "Mr Reynolds," 
wrote Horace Walpole to Dalrymple (25th February 
1758), "seldom succeeds in women ; Mr Ramsay is 
formed to paint them." Dr Johnson, who was cer- 
tainly not predisposed in Ramsay's favour as a Scot, 
often dined with him, and bestowed a characteristic- 
ally ponderous encomium upon him : ** You will 
not find a man in whose conversation there is more 
instruction, more information, and more eloquence 
than in Ramsay's." 

More and ever more powerful became the attraction 
of London to young Scotsmen of ability. Many of 
their countrymen had become established on the 
banks of Thames, descendants of those families 
which had followed James VI. and I. when he quitted 
Holyroodhouse for Hampton Court and Windsor. 
Since that time, communication between the capitals 
had been vastly improved. So late as 1760 those 

^ The teiin "wits " is used here, not in its modern sense imply- 
ing jocularity, but in its eighteenth - century meaning of " in- 
tellects " — persons of understanding. 


who wished to go to London and could neither afford 
to travel by post-chaise, nor had the bodily vigour of 
Lord Monboddo, who always performed his frequent 
journeys to London on horse-back, even after he had 
passed his eightieth year, had the alternative of 
waiting for the monthly stage-coach, which accom- 
plished the journey in fifteen days, or boarding the 
sailing-packet at Leith on a voyage depending on 
wind and weather. In 1780 no fewer than fifteen 
coaches left Edinburgh every week for London, the 
best of them making the journey in four days.^ This 
facility for travel had the inevitable result of stimulat- 
ing the migratory nisus. 

Apart from the physical discomfort inseparable 
from residence in Old Edinburgh, the intellectual 
atmosphere of London was more free, its horizon 
broader. London, moreover, as the seat of the 
Imperial legislature, inevitably drew away many 
families of Scottish representative peers and members 
of Parliament, leaving the Edinburgh world of fashion 
to be led by persons of no inferior merit, perhaps, but 
with less means of expenditure. However, in measure 
as the wealth of the permanent community increased 
and ready money became less scarce among the 
country gentlemen resorting to the city, owing inter 

1 Writing about 1830, Nimrod (C. J. Apperley) recorded: "The 
Edinburgh mail [from London] runs the distance, 400 miles, in a 
little over forty hours, and we may set our watches by it at any 
point of her journey." On the Great Northern Railway the 
"Flying Scotsman" is now timed to do this journey in 8 hours 15 
minutes — and does it. 

• -»■ 






' * • 


•'** * 




alia to the gradual substitution of money rents for 
agricultural land instead of rents paid in kind and 
service, so did people become more conscious of, and 
less patient with, the narrow bounds of the city. 
But how were these bounds to be enlarged? — how 
could the conditions of living be improved ? Every 
foot of ground on the " tail o' the crag " was piled 
storeys high. The " Hie Gait " or High Street, 
originally a broad, handsome thoroughfare, had been 
shorn of its fair proportions by the licence granted to 
householders to encroach upon it by making wooden 
additions to their " lands " to the extent of seven feet 
on either side. Examples of these wooden fronts 
may still be seen on John Knox's house in the High 
Street and Huntly House in the Canongate. In 
short, there was no possibility of finding room for 
modern buildings within the precincts of the Old 
Town. Often and anxiously had the Town Council 
discussed plans for extending the city boundaries to 
the north, but the project was always thwarted by 
the difficulty of bridging the Nor' Loch. In 1752 the 
Town Council approved of a design for the necessary 
bridge ; but funds were lacking for the undertaking. 
Seven years later they promoted a bill to extend the 
city boundaries northward ; but the landowners to the 
north of the town successfully opposed it. However, 
in 1763, acting under the spirited leadership of Lord 
Provost George Drummond, they resolved to proceed 
without Parliamentary powers, which were required 
only for extending the bounds of the royalty. This 


was discreetly kept out of the question, the ostensible 
put-pose of the bridge being improved communication 
with Leith. The Nor' Loch was partly drained, and 
the foundation-stone of the North Bridge was laid. 
But a sad calamity befell the builders. The structure 
was far advanced when the foundation at the south 
end gave way, the bridge collapsed, had to be rebuilt, 
and was not open for traffic till 1772.^ 

Meanwhile the Town Council had not been idle. 
In 1767 they obtained an Act extending the royalty 
of the city to the north side, having previously opened 
negotiations with one James Graham for a quarter 
of an acre of land on Muttress Hill, near the site of 
the present Register House and General Post Office. 
Along the steep bank on the north side of the 
Nor' Loch ran a straight road between two field- walls. 
It went by the name of the Lang Dykes, and in the 
plans prepared for the New Town by the archi- 
tect James Craig it was made to blossom forth into 
a grand thoroughfare, which it was piously proposed 
to name after St Giles, the patron saint of the city and 
its principal church. It was never quite clear what 
special claim the exemplary, but not exactly illustri- 
ous, Athenian ^gidius (known in Western hagiology 
as Saint Giles) had upon the allegiance of Scotsmen ; 
and so thought King George III. when the plans 
were submitted for his approval ; for the name was 
* associated in his experience with a slum district in 

1 It was widened in 1 873 and removed in 1 899 to make way for 
the present fine viaduct. 

From Shepherd's Modern Athens. 

to » 



* - " 


«'-» 4 mil %;• * 4** 

« >* 

« •' 


London. He told the town councillors that they 
must fix upon another title. Now the monarch's 
own name had already been appropriated for what 
was designed as the principal street of the New Town, 
running east and west along the summit of the ridge, 
and Queen Charlotte had bestowed her name upon the 
square at the west end of the same ; so it was decreed 
that the saint should make way for a group of illus- 
trious sinners, and the street was called Princes Street 
after King George's sons,^ with specific mention of 
the Duke of York in Frederick Street, whereof a 
modern extension, named St Vincent Street, leads 
to the region of Stockbridge, where once a wooden 
or " stock " bridge spanned the Water of Leith. 

Although Princes Street has long since eclipsed 
George Street in popularity, uniting all the stir of 
busy commerce with the amenity of an esplanade, 
still it would be hard to find a fairer urban landscape 
than the spacious dignity of George Street displays, 
especially when the westering sun throws into relief 
the massive dome of St George's Church, not to 
mention the enchanting vistas presented by each of 
the side streets — to the Old Town and the Castle 
Rock southwards, and over the firth to the distant 
hills of Fife northwards. 

But we are anticipating. The ground having been 
pegged out according to Mr Craig's plan (for which 
he received a gold medal and the freedom of the 

^ The name is formed from the nominative plural — Princes — 
not from the genitive singular — Prince's. 


city), the next thing was to induce householders to 
begin building. James Graham, with whom negotia- 
tions had been concluded, was dead before 1767 ; 
but his representatives now claimed that the con- 
ditions he had stipulated for should be fulfilled, 
namely, that the land he allowed to be built on 
should be for ever free from rates. The result is 
that the houses numbered 10 to 15 Princes Street 
are the only houses in Edinburgh exempt from 
rating at this day. 

It was not, however, on Craig's land, that the first 
house in the New Town was built. So closely did 
the citizens cling to the ancient hive on the " tail o' 
the crag" that no applications were made for feus 
until the Town Council offered a premium of £20 
for the first who should start to build on the fresh 
ground. Even then, four months elapsed before a 
daring individual, by name John Young, claimed the 
prize by getting Mr Craig to lay the foundation-stone 
of the first house in the New Town on the south 
side of George Street. This was on 26th October 
1767. Mr Young's example took immediate effect. 
Year by year, in ever-increasing numbers, men of 
leisure and men of affairs deserted the wynds and 
closes which during so many generations had har- 
boured the leaders of fashion and business, of learn- 
ing and law, and planted themselves on fresh ground, 
until, by the year 1790, the New Town had reached 
as far west as Castle Street. 

Craig's plan of the New Town included an orna- 



mental water or ** canal " in the Nor' Loch valley — 
something after the manner of the Serpentine in 
Hyde Park. But that feature, which would have 
added untold beauty to the capital of Scotland, was 
never carried into effect. Indeed, the Town Council 
must have been utterly insensible of, or indifferent 
to, landscape effect, for they contemplated a further 
departure from Craig's design by proceeding to let 
building sites along the south side of Princes Street. 
But no sooner had a dozen such sites been granted 
(on the ground now occupied by the North British 
Station Hotel) than the feuars on the north side of 
the street took alarm : they were going to be shut 
out from a view of the Old Town and Castle — the 
chief attraction of the new thoroughfare. They 
raised an action of suspension and interdict against 
the Town Council, and when judgment went against 
them in the Scottish Courts, appeal was carried to 
the House of Lords, where the said judgment was 
reversed. Dwellers in Edinburgh and visitors should 
unite in grateful remembrance of Lord Mansfield's 
strong expressions in pronouncing judgment for 
continuing the injunction, "not only on the plain 
and open principles of justice, but from regard to 
the public, and from regard to that misguided Cor- 
poration." It is held, I believe, that this decision 
was wrong in law: that it was an unwarrantable 
interference with the rights and powers of the 
Corporation : but if it was bad law it was sound 

sense, for who can contemplate with equanimity 



the idea of Princes Street with a continuous row 
of houses along its south side ? 

Before the planning of the New Town, the only 
theatre in Edinburgh was a small house in the 
Canongate. The Town Council, wisely determined 
to omit nothing that might lend attraction to their 
new dominion, took powers in extending the royal- 
ties of the city for the building and licensing of a 
theatre. The site now occupied by the Register 
House and the General Post Office was then an 
open space whereon, in the sixteenth century, a 
leper hospital stood. It was here that George 
Whitefield, leader of the Calvinistic Methodists, used 
to address excited crowds, and deep was his indig- 
nation, on returning to Edinburgh shortly before 
his death, to find the walls of a new playhouse 
rising there. 

This house, to be known as the Theatre Royal 
for ninety years to come, started with a piece of 
bad luck. Opening in December 1769, before a 
dozen houses had been built and inhabited in the 
New Town, it was suddenly cut off from the Old 
Town by the collapse of the North Bridge ; and the 
manager Ross, having had two or three disastrous 
seasons, leased the building to Samuel Foote before 
the bridge was rebuilt. A Scottish audience is not 
usually demonstrative, as Mrs Siddons found at her 
first appearance in Edinburgh in 1784. 

"The grave attention of my Scottish countrymen," wrote 
Thomas Campbell, " and their canny reservation of praise till 


THE PALACE, 1674-1679. 

• <» J # _ 

<4 <l 

«>'<•«' .> >^ 

A DUEL 243 

they were sure they had deserved it, had well-nigh worn out 
her patience. She had been used to speak to animated 
audiences, but now she felt that she had been speaking to 
stones. Successive flashes of her elocution, that had always 
been sure to electrify the South, fell in vain on these Northern 
flints. At last, as I well remember, she told me she coiled 
up all her power to the most emphatic possible utterance of 
one passage, having previously vowed in her heart that if 
this could not touch the Scots, she would never again cross 
the Tweed ! When it was finished she paused, and looked to 
the audience. The deep silence was broken only by a single 
voice exclaiming: "That's no bad." This ludicrous parsimony 
of praise convulsed the audience with laughter ; but the laugh 
was followed by such thunders of applause that, amidst her 
stunned and nervous agitation, she was not without fear of 
the galleries coming down." 

It was at the door of the Theatre Royal that, on 
7th April 1790, a quarrel had its origin, whereof the 
tragic consequences greatly agitated the fashionable 
world of Edinburgh. Captain James Macrae was 
a young fellow of fortune and the ton, who used 
to give theatrical parties at his villa Marionville, 
near Restalrig Kirk. He got into altercation about 
a sedan-chair with the footman of Sir George 
Ramsay of BamfF as people were leaving the theatre 
after a performance. Macrae gave the footman a 
severe thrashing, and, meeting Sir George in the 
street next day, told him he was sorry that he had 
been compelled to correct one of his servants at 
the playhouse last night. Sir George replied that 
it was no affair of his, as the footman was Lady 
Ramsay's servant; upon which Macrae said he 
would wait upon her ladyship and offer his apology. 


Calling for that purpose at her house in St Andrew 
Square, he found that she had gone to give a sitting 
for her portrait to the young artist, Henry Raeburn. 
Macrae followed the lady to the studio and there 
made his aynende, which was graciously accepted, 
and the affair was considered at an end. But 
nobody took into account the feehngs of the foot- 
man, who, having been badly beaten, brought an 
action against Macrae for assault to the effusion of 

Macrae thereupon wrote to Sir George Ramsay, 
imperiously demanding either that the prosecution 
should be dropped, or that the footman should be 
summarily dismissed from service. " As to his 
being Lady Ramsay's servant," he wrote, "it is 
of no consequence to me: I consider you as the 
master of your family, and I expect what 1 have 
now demanded will be comphed with." ^ 

Sir George returned a temperate reply, explain- 
ing that he had known nothing about the action 
until he heard of it from Macrae ; and that he did 
not feel it his duty to interfere, "especially as the 
man at present is far from being well." Macrae then 
sent one Mr Amory to Sir George with a letter 
insisting upon the footman being dismissed ; and, 
upon Sir George declining to do so, Amory told him 
that Macrae considered him not a gentleman but 
a scoundrel. 

With a quarrel forced upon him in this way. Sir 
George, under the code of honour of the day, had no 



























































' ' 












' >-i 


















*> *. 





choice but to return a challenge to Macrae, who was 
a noted duellist. They met next day, 14th April, at 
noon, at Ward's, Musselburgh, Sir William Maxwell ^ 
acting as Sir George's second and Mr Amory as 
Macrae's. Two hours or thereby were spent in vain 
endeavour to reconcile the principals, Sir George 
being inflexible in refusing to discharge Lady 
Ramsay's footman, and Macrae equally so in 
insisting upon it. The distance was then paced off — 
about fourteen yards; the two gentlemen fired 
simultaneously, and Sir George fell, mortally 
wounded, expiring on Friday the 16th. 

The Scots Magazine concludes an account of this 
affair in a manner very characteristic of the period. 
"Have since heard that Mr Macrae was slightly 
wounded in the cheek. We have only to add that 
no men ever behaved more like men of honour than 
they did on the occasion." Public feeling, however, 
ran so strong against Macrae as the aggressor, that 
he had to flee the country, leaving the Court of 
Session to affirm the judgment of the sheriff* awarding 
damages to the injured footman. Whether he ever 
obtained payment is doubtful, for Macrae never 
ventured back to this country, dying an outlaw 
in 1820. 

Before quitting the Old Town for good, a few 
words must be devoted to explain the vicissitudes 

1 There were two baronets of this name in Edinburgh society at 
this time — one of Monreith, the other of Springkell. I have failed 
to ascertain which of them acted as Ramsay's second. 


that have so greatly altered the original appearance 
of the abbey church and palace of Holyroodhouse. 

First, about the church, whereof nothing now 
remains but a gaunt and roofless ruin of the nave 
west of the crossing. The buttresses which stand 
out so conspicuously were part of the work of Abbot 
Crawfurd, who wrought great changes in the fabric and 
did much to enrich it. The flying buttresses which 
connected the outer buttresses with the clerestory 
probably disappeared when Lord Hertford wrecked 
the church in 1544 and (as Protector Somerset) in 
1547. Anyhow, the Reformation completed the ruin 
of what ought to have been cherished as the very 
shrine and treasure-house of Scottish nationality. 

In 1581 Adam Both well, Bishop of Orkney, being 
Commendator of the Abbey, was taken to task by 
the General Assembly for allowing the building 
(which had been made the parish church of the 
Canongate) to fall into disrepair. He defended him- 
self by saying that 

the Abbay Kirk of Halyrudhous, quhilk hath been, thir twentie 
yeris by gane, ruinous through decay of twa principall pillars,^ 
sa that nane was assurit [safe] under it; and twa thousand 
pounds bestowit upon it wald not be sufficient to ease men to 
the hearing of the Word and ministration of the Sacraments. 
But with thar consent [of the General Assembly] and help of 
ane established authoritie, he wes purposed to provide the 
means that the superfluous ruinous pairts, to wit, the Queir and 
Croce Kirk [choir and transepts] micht be disponed to faithful! 
men to repaire the remanent sufficiently. 

1 The two western piers of the crossing. 



»; # ^ »> •.! »" •" 


So down went King David's choir and transepts, 
and the nave was patched up to serve as a Presby- 
terian place of worship. 

The next outrage that was wrought upon the 
building was the demolition of the south-west tower 
of the west front to enable Sir William Bruce to 
carry out his plan for the reconstruction of the palace 
in 1674-79. The Duke of York took up his abode 
in the new palace in 1679 as Lord High Commis- 
sioner ; afterwards, as King James VII. and II., he 
ordained, in December 1687, that the abbey church 
should be reconstituted as the chapel royal and 
chapel of the Knights of the Thistle, and adapted for 
worship according to the Roman ritual. All was to 
be ready by 1st May 1688, and probably was so ; but 
by that time James had to look after his own safety ; 
and the landing of William of Orange in November 
1688 roused the populace of Edinburgh to wreak 
their vengeance on the palace and the abbey church, 
as recorded in an earlier chapter. Recent excavations, 
undertaken by the Office of Works, have disclosed 
the foundations of a curious small church of the 
Saxon period underlying the site of King David's 
choir. Numerous stone coffins, containing well- 
preserved skulls and bones, were found within this 
older church. 

The final wreck took place in 1758 when the 
abbey church, no longer in use as a parish church, 
but retaining the name of chapel royal, was pro- 
nounced to be unsafe for any purpose. The Barons 


of Exchequer, apparently without seeking advice 
from any competent architect, directed that a new 
roof should be put upon the old walls. This was 
done, with the result that on the night of 2nd 
December 1768 the walls gave way and the roof 
crashed down, drawing with it the whole of the 
vaulting and clerestory. Next morning the rabble 
swarmed in once more : the royal tombs were rifled 
afresh (Captain Grose records how he saw the bones 
flung about), and the abbey church became what 
we see it — a forlorn monument alike of the piety 
and the chequered fortunes of the Scottish kings. 

Now that religious animosities have become 
softened, it is natural that a general wish should 
have found expression for the restoration of the 
chapel royal, or at least its redemption from the 
present gaunt and desolate condition. When Ronald, 
eleventh Earl of Leven and tenth Earl of Melville, 
died in 1906 he left a very large sum of money in 
trust for that purpose ; but it was found impossible 
to apply it as he desired ; so frail was the structure 
remaining that the walls could not be trusted to 
support a roof The church would have had to be 
rebuilt almost from the foundations; wherefore all 
that could be done was to arrest further decay. 

As for the palace, in a former chapter its history 
has been traced until the destruction of most of it 
by fire during the Cromwellian occupation. Crom- 
well caused it to be rebuilt — after a fashion. John 
NicoU records in 1659 (the year after Cromwell's 





I— ( 
















t)«l "I" 


death) that "the hole foir-work . . . quhilk was 
brint in November 1650, was compleitly biggit up."^ 
Probably the new building was far from satisfactory, 
for in 1671 Sir William Bruce of Balcaskie, Surveyor 
General, received orders to prepare plans for a new 
palace. These plans, unfortunately, have not been 
preserved ; but Bruce's contracts with Robert Mylne, 
the king's master mason in Scotland, show that 
the CromwelHan west front was pulled down and 
rebuilt, with a south-west tower corresponding to 
that of James IV. on the north-west. Behind this 
front was erected the existing quadrangle of apart- 
ments, a fair specimen of Scottish Jacobean archi- 
tecture, but not so fair as Bruce would have made 
it had the Lords of the Treasury not interfered. 
" His Majesty," they wrote, " thinks the way pro- 
posed for the inner court would be very noble, but 
he will not go to that charge; and therefore his 
pleasure is that it be plain ashlar, as the front is, 
with table divisions for storeys." 

The effect of the Union in 1707 was to leave 
Holyroodhouse a silent and solitary memorial of 
the past, to be wakened into life and movement 
only by the annual visit of the Lord High Com- 
missioner — no longer Commissioner to Parliament, 
with its sumptuous "ridings" and ceremonial state, 
but to the more sombre General Assembly of the 

1 This refers, not to James IV. 's "foir-werk/' which was the 
gate-house at the foot of the Canon gate, but to the western 
fa5ade of the palace. 


Established Church. A flash of its former gaiety 
and importance returned in 1745 with Prince Charles 
Edward's brief triumph ; but for forty years after 
the star of the Stuarts had set for ever, little care 
was bestowed upon the palace, except upon those 
apartments assigned to the Dukes of Hamilton as 
Hereditary Keepers of Holyroodhouse. Neglect 
and damp had set their mark upon walls and 
ceilings ; but all was hastily furbished up in 1795 
to provide refuge for the Comte d'Artois (afterwards 
Charles X. of France). Just as our royal Stuarts 
were received to shelter in France when adversity 
overtook them, so now was protection afforded to 
the heir of the Bourbons in the palace of the Scottish 
kings. He lived there for four years, and we learn 
from the journal of Elizabeth Lady Holland why 
it was an abode peculiarly convenient for him. 
"Holyroodhouse," she wrote when on a visit to 
Edinburgh, " is at the bottom of the eminence upon 
which the habitable residences are now placed. The 
royal apartments have been modestly fitted up for 
the reception of the poor vagrant Monsieur, who 
is not only compelled to seek an asylum in Great 
Britain, but is also necessitated to keep within the 
precincts of the palace, as his royalty is of no avail 
against his creditors." Luckily for the Count, and for 
many others who availed themselves of " sanctuary " 
in Holyrood, " the precincts of the palace " included 
the whole of the spacious royal park adjoining it, 
within which they were secure from arrest. 



1» . 

=» ^ ? 

* * i> « ** 

« »* <) «) 

•» M 


Charles was again an inmate of Holyroodhouse 
from October 1830 to September 1832, not this time 
as a nobleman seeking asylum from his creditors, but 
as the dethroned and exiled King of France. No 
objection was raised by clergy or people on either of 
these occasions to the Roman Catholic rites which 
were regularly celebrated within the palace. 

The privilege of girth or sanctuary was one claimed 
and exercised by many churches in the Middle Ages, 
being secured to them by canon law ; but it did 
not extend beyond the immediate precincts of the 
ecclesiastical or monastic buildings. In the case of 
Holyrood Abbey, however, the right of sanctuary 
was specifically conveyed in the original charter by 
David I., and included the whole of the royal park. 
It was subject only to a limitation obliging the abbot 
to do justice upon fugitive criminals. At the foot 
of the Canongate once stood the Girth Cross, close to 
the Water Gate. The " girth " is still marked by a 
line of stones set in the roadway ; and of old any 
malefactor who succeeded in crossing that line was 
free from the civil power. This privilege having be- 
come the means for much flagrant evasion of justice, 
it was enacted by a parliament of James III. that 
persons guilty of " forethocht " felony — that is, of 
deliberate crime — should cease to enjoy sanctuary, 
but must be delivered to the sheriffs summons. No 
doubt this was done with the concurrence of the 
Church, for the bishops and abbots, being peers of 
Parliament in the fifteenth century, were quite strong 


enough to resist infringement upon any rights which 
it was in their interest to retain ; but it may easily 
be understood how undesirable had become the 
obligation to receive into sanctuary any ruffian who 
managed to set foot within the girth. 

Bower describes in his Scotichronicon an exciting 
episode in connection with the sanctuary of Holy- 
rood. In 1337 Edinburgh Castle was garrisoned by 
the troops of Edward III. A certain Scot named 
Robert Prendergast, having killed the English marshal 
and three of his soldiers, fled to Holyrood Abbey, 
rang the bell, and was admitted to sanctuary.^ A 
party of English soldiers pursued him into the 
church ; but, finding him on his knees before the 
altar, dared not lay hands upon him. They therefore 
posted sentries round him, with orders to prevent 
either food or drink reaching him, and to prevent 
him sleeping by poking him with long goads. For 
twelve days the fellow remained there, supported 
by food which the sacrist managed to let down to 
him through the roof while the brethren were at 
lauds ; until at last, bringing two of the canons with 
him to bear a hand, he let down a strong rope, which 
the fugitive fastened round him and was hauled up. 
They then dressed him as a canon, took him out 
walking early next morning and set him free.* 

Little by little the catalogue of offences to which 

1 The Sanctuary Bell may still be seen on the door of Durham 

2 Scotichronicon^ Ixiii. c. 42. 



■ 4 * 'I 

• * -•».,**•* * 


• • 


the privilege of sanctuary applied was curtailed, 
until at last it afforded protection only to defaulting 
debtors. That class of unfortunates continued to 
avail themselves of it until 1880, when Parliament 
abolished imprisonment for debt. They used chiefly 
to occupy certain old houses, demolished in 1857, in 
St Ann's Yards on the south side of the palace, and 
they were popularly known as the " Abbey Lairds." 
As the " girth " included the whole of the royal park, 
they did not suffer from confinement. 

The picturesque qualities of the Old Town have 
been grievously impaired through la rage du mieuoo 
during the last sixty years. At least two-thirds of 
the ancient *' lands " and other buildings have been 
swept away within that period ; and although one 
cannot blame the City Fathers for their energy in 
dealing with a congested district of slums, one sighs 
for the want of a little more discrimination in the 
treatment of a region teeming with historic associa- 
tions. A new Board School stands on the site of the 
fine mansion of the Duke of Gordon, who defended 
the Castle for James VIT. and II. in 1689 ; Mary of 
Guise's palace has had to make way for the United 
Free Church College. And so on. But let us not 
grumble ; matters might be far worse. In no other 
town of the United Kingdom can one saunter so far 
amid so much old-world building as one may do 
between the Castle Hill and Holyroodhouse. The 
Bowhead group, beloved of artists, disappeared, alas ! 
in 1878 ; but there still remain such delectable edifices 


as Moray House, now fitted with a new lodge and 
equipped as a training college for teachers, and Lady- 
Stair's House, in the court behind Gladstone's land. 
The latter is the last remaining specimen of an 
arcaded house, once a prevalent form of building in 
the Old Town. It was acquired by Lord Rosebery 
in 1895, restored by him and presented to the city 
in 1907. It is well that stucco and yellow brick, 
which have imparted such dreariness to many re- 
newals in London, have never found any favour with 
Edinburgh architects. Many of the new buildings in 
the Old Town are of admirable design, and all of 
them possess the dignity which can only be obtained 
through the use of good stone. Of that material 
Edinburgh builders will never feel the want until the 
famous quarries of Craigleith have been worked out. 

One may neither repine at reform so salutary, so 
sanitary, nor withhold sympathy from the spirit in 
which Sir David Wilson apostrophised the renovated 
Church of St Giles : 

" Old fashions have gone by, 
And superstitions, even of the heart. 
Thyself hast changed some wrinkles for a smart 
New suit of modern fashion. To my eye 
The old one best beseemed thee ; yet the more 
Cling I to what remains — the soul of yore." 

> J,.* 



1 1 



There is no town in the United Kingdom, equal in 
size to Edinburgh, wherein the frontier between old 
and new — between the past and the present — is so 
abrupt and clearly defined. The growth of cities is 
usually effected by the demolition of old buildings and 
the absorption of new suburbs. Paris, as we know 
it, is not the capital of the Valois, of the Bourbon, or 
of the First Empire ; and in London the prevailing 
leasehold system is the agent of change, less swift, 
but not less sure and sweeping, than the hand of 
Hausmann, few — very few — houses enduring from 
century to century. But in Old Edinburgh the 
usual tenure was by feu, which practically meant 
perpetuity of possession ; ^ consequently, when people 
of means began migrating to the New Town, the 
feuars owning " lands " simply looked out for tenants 
of a humbler class without pulling down the exist- 

1 The town of Greenock is built chiefly on feus granted by the 
superior who, some hundred years ago, was Sir Michael Shaw 
Stewart of Greenock and Blackball. The duration of these feus 
is limited to 999 years, which did not satisfy one applicant^ who 
pled for perpetuity. "But surely, my good sir," said Sir Michael, 
"999 years is practically perpetuity." "I'm no sae sure o' that," 
enjoined the other ; " a thoosand years soon slips awa' I " 



ing buildings. It must be confessed that, as a 
consequence, the greater part of the ancient burgh 
lapsed into a slum district, of more imposing aspect, 
indeed, than similar tracts in other towns, but equally 
objectionable from a sanitary point of view. This 
condition of things accentuated the contrast between 
the crowded ranks of houses on the ** tail o' the crag " 
and the spruce and spacious town which sprang up 
on the north side of the valley ; and that contrast is 
still impressive, despite the degree in which it has 
been modified by removals and improvements in the 
Old Town insisted on by an energetic Town Council. 
It ought not to be forgotten, by the way, that 
when the people of Edinburgh and their rural neigh- 
bours^ talk affectionately of the city as "Auld 
Reekie," they employ a sobriquet coined long before 
the roofs and chimneys of the New Town interfered 
with the view which dwellers on the Fife coast 
enjoyed of the Castle and the clustering buildings to 
the east thereof. According to Robert Chambers,^ 
the name was first conferred by James Durham of 
Largo, a country gentlemen of Fife and a famous 
golfer in the latter half of the eighteenth century, 

1 " This, then, is Edinburgh ? " said the youth, as the fellow- 
travellers arrived at one of the heights to the southward, which 
commanded a view of the great northern capital — "This is that 
Edinburgh of which we have heard so much?" — "Even so," said 
the falconer; "yonder stands Auld Reekie — you may see the 
smoke hover over her at twenty miles distance, as the goss-hawk 
hangs over a plump of young wild-duck" (The Abbot, chap, xviii.). 

2 Partner in the firm of W. & R. Chambers, publishers, founded 
in 1818, and author of Traditions of Edinburgh. 

^ J.- 


' «> «.. 



who "was in the habit of regulating the time of 
evening worship by the appearance of the smoke of 
Edinburgh. When it increased in density in con- 
sequence of the good folk preparing supper, he would 
say : ' It is time noo, bairns, to tak to the buiks and 
gang to our beds, for yonder's Auld Reekie, I see, 
putting on her nightcap.'" 

The contrast between the Old Town, with its ^ 
malodorous closes and dimly hghted wynds, and the 
spacious squares and ample streets of the New 
Town is heightened by the magnificent building 
material which architects had at command in the 
quarry of Craigleith. With what flutters of content 
must a family of fashion have settled down in one of 
the airy mansions of Princes Street or George Square, 
with wide windows that one might throw open without 
admitting noxious effluvia from accumulated garbage. 
Instead of the inconvenience, noise, and dirt insepar- 
able from a common entry, here every private house 
had its own front door, opening, too, upon a broad 
street, well-paved, well-swept, and well-hghted, with 
gutters sunk discreetly out of sight, and sewerage, a 
refinement unknown, if not undreamt of, in the Old 
Town, fulfilling its humble function underground. 

But the city— oh the city— the square with the houses ! why, 
They are stone-faced, white as a curd, there's something to 

take the eye I 
Houses in four straight lines, not a single front awry. 

This striking contrast in environment was not more 
strange than that which continued prevalent for 



many years to come in social life, among the men, 
at least, belonging to the upper and middle ranks of 
society — the contrast between high intellectual pur- 
pose and achievement on the one hand, and the 
habitual drenching and nullifying the faculties with 
strong drink on the other. Strange that so stupid 
a habit should have gained such ascendancy over a 
community wherein learning and letters had found 
such a congenial soil. For it is the case that a 
very high intellectual standard had been attained 
in Edinburgh before the end of the century. Allan 
Ramsay's Select Society had been reconstituted in 
1755 as the Society for Encouraging Art, Science, and 
Industry, and justified its assumption of the more 
sonorous title by the range of its activity and the 
attainments of many of its members. It might be 
claiming too much to affirm that the general tone of 
society was intellectual ; but there was undoubtedly, 
towards the close of the eighteenth century and 
during the first quarter of the nineteenth, a singularly 
strong leaven of intellectual enthusiasm. To name 
soine of those who have contributed distinction to the 
Scottish capital is attended with the certainty of 
omitting others equally deserving of mention ; but 
the risk of doing so must be taken, even though space 
be lacking for more than a very few. Adam SmithV 
is a name still revered in economic, as Dugaid 
Stewart s is in moral, philosophy. Robert Ad m, 
with his brother William, founded a school of ex- 
quisite design, to which present-day architects are 

















































not ashamed to pay revived allegiance. The paint- 
ings of Henry Raeburn have, of late, found recogni- 
tion beyond the frontiers of Scotland : English and 
American dealers are tumbling over each other in 
feverish anxiety to secure his works at fabulous 
prices.^ If those who controlled the University al- 
lowed the classics to wane, they fostered the training 
initiated by Alexander Monro, until Edinburgh came 
to be regarded as the Mecca of medical science. 
The literary impulse set in motion by Allan Ramsay 
acquired momentum, imparting a distinct, if varying, 
tone to each succeeding generation. A taste was 
developed which required more stimulating food than 
treatises on law and books of sermons, which at 
first had been the staple output of the Edinburgh 
press. For many years after the Union it had been 
hopeless for anyone to live by literature. James 
Thomson of The Seasons tried it and, failing, hied 
him off to London in 1725, whither his friend David 

1 The following incident may serve to illustrate the manner in 
which the caprice of fashion affects the esteem accorded to an 
artist's work: — In or about the year 1900 a Royal Academician 
asked me whether I could assist him in finding some good work for 
the winter exhibition at Burlington House. I told him that if he 
came down to Scotland I would show him, in a neighbour's house, 
the most beautiful painting by Raeburn known to me — a lovely 
lady, full length, in a white dress and sky-blue pelisse. He came 
and saw the picture, pronounced it pretty — ''yes, quite a pretty 
thing, but hardly up to our standard." Ten or twelve years later, 
I happened to meet my friend in a country house, and enjoyed a 
mild satisfaction in showing him a letter from the owner of the 
picture, asking my advice whether he should accept a firm offer of 
10,000 guineas for it, or run the chance of the market at Christie's. 


Malloch^ had preceded him two years before. Nor 
had prospects improved for the craft of quill-drivers 
in 1739, when Tobias Smollet set off for the south 
with the manuscript of a play in his pocket ; but fifty 
years wrought a remarkable change for the better. 
It was in 1787 that Robert Burns came from the 
westland to seek recognition in Edinburgh as some- 
thing more than a rustic rhymester. He had, indeed, 
already published by subscription a volume of verse 
in 1786, the edition consisting of 614 copies, which 
yielded him the modest profit of £20 ; ^ but when he 
proposed that his publisher, John Wilson of Kilmar- 
nock, should prepare to issue a second edition, that 
wary person declined to do so unless Burns would 
pay £27 in advance for the paper. In a happy hour 
for himself and for his country. Burns was persuaded 
to try his luck in Edinburgh ; where, through the 
good offices of the Earl of Glencairn, he found a 
more enterprising publisher in the person of William 
Creech, a notable character, who had acquired the 
business originally founded by Allan Ramsay the 
elder. Meanwhile, Henry Mackenzie — "the Man of 
Feeling" — had "discovered" the young Ayrshire 
ploughman, and published an enthusiastic review of 
the Kilmarnock volume in the Lounger. 

1 Known among British poets as " Mallet/' because, as he told 
Professor Ker, ^^ there is not one Englishman that can pronomice 
' Malloch.' " 

2 This little volume now ranks as one of the rarest and most 
highly coveted prizes of the bibliophile. As much as £500 has 
been given for a copy in recent years. 


From Shepherd's Modern Athens. 

o* * « • .J 





. . • ^ , 



4 '» 

* ^ 
*?>« -^ 


Now it is to the credit, not only of Mackenzie's 
literary Jlaire, but also of his courage, that he 
should have pronounced such warm encomium upon 
Poems, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect \ because, ever 
since the Union in 1707, educated Scotsmen and 
Scotswomen had been striving, without much success, 
we hear, to acquire an English accent. " We who 
live in Scotland," wrote Dr James Beattie to Lord 
Glenbervie, " are obliged to study English like a dead 
language which we can understand, but cannot speak. 
Our style smells of the lamp : we are slaves of the 
language, and are continually afraid of committing 
gross blunders." Here, then, was not only a poet 
who, like Dante, was not ashamed to write in his 
mother tongue, but also a critic who descried the 
precious kernel in the unfashionable rind, and, as 
was presently to appear, a public ready to be thrilled, 
stirred or tickled, ready also to buy a considerable 
number of the poet's works. 

It came to pass, therefore, that Burns, fresh from 
the ploughland of Mossgiel, found himself suddenly 
the subject of all that fashionable society could offer 
him in hospitality and entertainment. Walter Scott, 
who had just been entered as a writer's apprentice,^ 
met Burns but once. The occasion was as notable 
in literature as the single interview between Nelson 
and Arthur Wellesley at the Colonial Office was in 
the profession of arms ; for just as Wellesley in 1805 

1 In Scottish legal terminology a '^ writer" is the equivalent 
of a solicitor in English. Scott was apprenticed to his father. 


was the mere " Sepoy general " of Napoleon's taunt, 
with all the glories of the Peninsula and Waterloo 
still below the horizon, so the hour had not yet 
struck when the fount of poetry and romance 
should begin to flow from the laboratory of the 
Wizard of the North. "As for Burns," Scott 
wrote to Lockhart in after years : 

As for Burns, I may truly say Virgilium vidi tantum. I was 
a lad of fifteen in 1786-7, when he first came to Edinburgh, 
but had sense and feeling enough to be much interested in 
his poetry, and would have given the world to know him ; 
but I had very little acquaintance with literary people, and 
still less with the gentry of the west countiy, the two sets 
that he most frequented. Mr Thomas Grierson was at that 
time a clerk of my father's. He knew Burns, and promised 
to ask him to his lodgings to dinner, but had no opportunity 
to keep his word, otherwise I might have seen more of this 
distinguished man. As it was, I saw him one day at the late 
venerable Professor Ferguson's,^ where there were several 
gentlemen of literary reputation, among whom I remember 
the celebrated Mr Dugald Stewart. Of course we youngsters 
sate silent — looked and listened. The only thing I remember 
which was remarkable in Burns's manner, was the effect 
produced upon him by a print of Bunbury's, representing a 
soldier lying dead on the snow, his dog sitting in misery on 
one side, on the other his widow with a child in her arms. 
These lines were written beneath : — 

Cold on Canadian hills or Minden's plain. 
Perhaps that parent wept her soldier slain ; 
Bent o'er her babe, her eye dissolved in dew. 
The big drops mingling with the milk he drew. 
Gave the sad presage of his future years. 
The child of misery baptised in tears. 

1 Adam Ferguson (1723-1816), Professor of Philosophy in 
Edinburgh University. 



From an engraving by Freeman. 

>) V) 

-1 <* 



Burns seemed much affected by the print ... he actually 
shed tears. He asked whose the lines were, and it chanced 
that nobody but myself remembered that they occur in a 
half- forgotten poem of Langhorne's, called by the unpromising 
title of The Justice of the Peace. I whispered my informatioq 
to a friend present, who mentioned it to Burns, who rewarded 
me with a look and a word, which, though of mere civility, 
I then received and still recollect with very great pleasure.^ 

Scott mentions the " sets " which diversified Edin- 
burgh society. No doubt it is the inevitable tendency 
of every community to segregate into sets; but, 
taking it as a whole, it might be difficult to find 
a parallel in any modern city equal in size to 
Edinburgh at the close of the eighteenth century, 
when the Old and New Town together numbered 
less than 65,000 inhabitants, to the considerable 
proportion of its citizens whose names are remembered 
with distinction in divinity, jurisprudence, philo- 
sophy, medicine, natural science, the fine arts, and 
literature. Yet, as has been said above, one cannot 
peruse the annals of those days without a sense 
of disgust at the almost universal Worship of the 
Bottle. The bibulous habits of the clergy and the 
judges have received mention in a previous chapter; 
but hard drinking was not confined to them. Prob- 
ably there is no public official upon whom, in a 
modern city, it is more incumbent to keep his head 
clear than the head of the police. Captain James 
Burnet, the last commander of the City Guard, 
seems to have been held exempt from any such 

1 Lockhart's Life of Scott, i. 136. 


obligation. This worthy weighed 19 stone; we 
are indebted to the etcher John Kay for a portrait 
of him, and to the antiquary James Maidment, who 
edited two volumes of Kay's Portraits in 1837-38, 
for a good deal of curious biographical information 
about the subjects. Here is what we are told about 
the official chiefly responsible for keeping order in 
the capital : 

Few men of his time enjoyed their bottle with greater 
zest than Captain Burnet : and at the civic feasts, with which 
those palmy times abounded, no one did greater execution 
with the knife and fork. He seldom retired with less than 
two bottles under his belt, and that, too, without at all 
deranging the order of his upper story. "Two and a half 
here ! " was a frequent exclamation, as he clapped his hand 
on his portly paunch.^ 

The aforesaid John Kay merits mention among 
the notables of Edinburgh by reason of the curious 
light thrown by his art upon the manners and 
appearance of people of all ranks and various occu- 
pations. We owe gratitude to Raeburn and other 
painters for the fine portraits which enrich the 
Edinburgh Parliament House, the public galleries, 
and many private houses throughout the country ; 
such portraits are faithful likenesses of those persons 
who could afford to sit to the leading artists in 
their best clothes and in dignified or romantic 
attitudes ; but Kay applied himself to 

Shoot folly as it flies. 
And catch the manners living as they rise. 

1 Kay's Portraits^ ii. 85. 

- .tV^cai.- — i. ' jj. i! j.!iJliJ-i» J'_a.. ' / 

. iT*"— , r • **V>T i*-V^r-. .^^J^^ 4^ -J 


From Kay's Edinburgh Portraits. 

* 6 

» A 


"1 * 

•» •'op" 

4« j) « -^ 


k The son of a working mason, Kay was apprenticed 
^to a barber in Dalkeith and started business on his 
own account in Edinburgh in 1771. He practised 
drawing in his leisure time, attracting considerable 
notice by the quaintness of his portraits and carica- 
tures, and eventually gave up the barber's trade in 
1786 and took to etching in earnest. Being entirely 
self-taught, Kay's work is of negligible artistic 
merit, but quite invaluable to the historian. His 
caricatures are entirely free from the grossness and 
vulgarity of his English contemporaries Gillray and 
Rowlandson, and there is no doubt that, had he 
received early training, his natural gift would have 
enabled him to take high rank among portrait 
painters. His diligence was incessant ; it is recorded 
that he etched about nine hundred plates, among 
which was the only authentic likeness of Adam 
Smith. Nearly every figure of note in Edinburgh 
at that period is represented in the series, except 
Robert Burns. 

One more character remains to claim notice before 
quitting the Old Town, to wit, William Creech, 
publisher, whose house stood at the east end of the 
row of lofty buildings on the north side of St Giles's 
Church. " Standing," says Lord Cockburn, " in the 
very tideway of our business, it became the natural 
resort of lawyers, authors, and all sorts of literary 
allies who were always buzzing about the convenient 
hive." ^ Creech, the son of the minister of Newbattle 

^ Lord Cockburn' s Memorials, p. 169. 


by an English mother, possessed social and intel- 
lectual qualities, and his breakfast parties, known as 
Creech's levees, became a feature of Edinburgh life as 
well marked as, in later years, those of Samuel Rogers 
in London. Witty in speech and natty in attire, he 
succeeded better as a host than as a man of business. 
His dilatory habits in settling accounts brought him 
into bitter conflict with Robert Burns, to whom, in 
the end, he paid £500 for the second edition of his 
poems, though Burns declared it should have been 
£1100. Creech became Lord Provost in 1811-13, 
and, dying a bachelor, his business was acquired by 

After the soreness consequent on the Union had 
died out with the generation which fought that 
question to a finish, party politics held a very sub- 
ordinate place in the life of the citizens of Edinburgh. 
It has been explained in a former chapter how little 
even the Jacobite rising affected the personal relations 
between the adherents of Stuart and Guelph. But 
the upheaval of the French Revolution brought that 
condition of things to an end, and set Whig and 
Tory in as bitter antagonism in Edinburgh as they 
had ever been elsewhere. Hitherto all patronage 
had rested with the Tories, a dispensation which, 
while it attracted recruits to support of the Govern- 
ment, certainly engendered discontent in those who 
held liberal opinions. Overt hostility between parties 
was kindled by certain resolutions passed at a meeting 
of Edinburgh Whigs in December 1795. They not 

« « • • • » • 


Drawn SrSn^rnved by Himsdfljse^ 

From Kay's Edinburgh Portraits. 


J #1-1 

'-»* <3 


• "d 


only protested against the bills which had been 
framed to deal with seditious meetings and treasons, 
but they went on to denounce the war with France. 
The chairman of this meeting was the Hon. Henry 
Erskine, Dean of Faculty, who had held office as 
Lord Advocate in the brief coalition government of 
1783. He was an exceedingly handsome man, a 
brilliant pleader, and a great favourite both with the 
members of the Bar and the public in general ; but 
it was determined to mark disapproval of the senti- 
ments he had endorsed by presiding at the said 
meeting. Erskine, his Whiggery notwithstanding, 
had been re-elected Dean of Faculty — head of the 
Scottish Bar — in ten successive years. In January 
1796 Robert Dundas of Arniston was elected by 
123 votes against only 38 given for Erskine. The 
incident marked a fresh phase in the society of 
the Scottish capital. The Scottish Whigs, ranging 
themselves under so capable and eloquent a leader, 
became henceforward a well-organised body, destined 
to wield important influence upon the course of 
legislation. Erskine gathered round him a little knot 
of lieutenants — Francis Jeffrey, Henry Brougham, 
Sydney Smith, and Francis Horner — who, to borrow 
an American phrase, soon " made things hum." But 
the three last deserted Edinburgh for the more stir- 
ring battlefield in the south, not, however, before 
they had aided Jeffrey in founding the Edinburgh 
Review, whereof the first number was published on 
10th October 1802. The concern met with signal 


success from the outset. Although founded and 
controlled by a quartette of young Whigs, and 
although Brougham contributed three articles to the 
first number, the political tone of the Review was so 
moderate that Walter Scott wrote pretty frequently 
for it, until in the autumn of 1808 appeared an article 
condemning the expedition to the Peninsula, which 
helped to decide him in severing connection with it. 
Helped to decide him, I say ; for a bitter review of 
Marmion, written by Jeffrey, had appeared in the 
previous year, taunting Scott as writing for pelf 
" Constable," wrote Scott to his brother Thomas, " or 
rather that Bear, his partner, has behaved by me 
of late not very civilly, and I owe Jeffrey a flap 
with a foxtail on account of his review of Marmion, 
and thus doth the whirligig of time bring about 
my revenges." " The Edinburgh Review,'' he wrote 
to Constable, who published it from the Canongate 
Press, ^'had become such as to render it impossible 
for me to become a contributor to it ; now it is such 
as I can no longer continue to receive or read it." 

The immediate result was the foundation of the 
Quarterly Review, John Murray travelling down from 
London to secure Scott's co-operation, which was 
enthusiastically given. But the Quarterly was a 
London periodical : it was not till 1817 that Black- 
wood's Edinburgh Magazine made its appearance 
as a monthly, "something not so ponderous, more 
nimble, more frequent, more familiar," the youthful 
champion and challenger of the giant Jeffrey in his 


Engraved by Henry Robinson after Sir T. Lawrence. 

,.) ^ 



* « 


* ^•« 


A **' • 


own city. All three of these periodicals are still in 
vigorous existence ; although the considerable power 
once wielded by the quarterlies has been usurped by 
the London and provincial daily papers, acting upon 
an immensely increased electorate. Blackwood's 
Magazine deserves a tribute of esteem in passing. 
Although still a champion of the Conservative 
principle in politics, it no longer maintains the highly 
polemic note with which it made the welkin ring in 
the early days of Lockhart, Christopher North, and 
the Ettrick Shepherd ; but it is notable, not merely 
as a unique instance of a half-crown monthly being 
successfully conducted by a single firm of publishers 
for close upon one hundred years, but because of the 
high literary quality which it has maintained through- 
out its long life. The scrupulous care which the 
editors of " Maga " have exercised so successfully in 
admitting none but good material to their pages has 
occasionally erred on the side of strictness. Thackeray, 
for instance, about 1840, offered Alexander Black- 
wood the manuscript of the Great Hoggarty 
Diamond and The Roundabout Papers ; both of which 
were declined, and Thackeray never gave Blackwood 
another chance of refusal. Alexander's nephew, the 
late Mr William Blackwood, who succeeded to the 
editor's chair, told me that he had received and 
declined first offers from R. L. Stevenson, S. R. 
Crockett, and Sir James Barrie. 

But the spirit which pervades and ennobles the 
literary atmosphere of Edinburgh is that of Sir 


Walter Scott. Not without just cause is the monu- 
ment to his memory the most conspicuous object in 
the principal street of the capital which he knew and 
loved so well ; for he it was who first revealed Scot- 
land not only to the outside world, but to her own 
sons. Even the late Mr Leslie Stephen, one of 
Scott's less kindly critics,^ had to admit that '* Scott 
is one of the last great English writers whose influence 
extended beyond his island and gave a stimulus to 
the development of European thought," ^ though he 
pronounces that influence undesirable and the stimulus 
transient. " His books," says Mr Stephen, " are 
addressed entirely to the everyday mind."^ How, 
we rejoin, could they have been more fruitfully 
addressed ? If he did not fill his pages with spiritual 
fumblings of doubting Christians, with murky tangles 
of the sex problem or with maunderings of introspec- 
tive maidens, he breathed into many a landscape 
stirring association for myriads of his countrymen 
for whom it had no meaning before. After all, it*is 
the man, as much as the poet and novelist, whose 
shade beckons one perambulating the Old Town of 
Edinburgh. Deeply buried beneath Kemp's fine 
structure in Princes Street, which commemorates 
Scott and his work, is a plate engraved with a 

1 " It is hard to say it, and yet we fear it must be admitted, that 
the whole of those historical novels, which once charmed all men, 
and for which we have still a lingering affection, are rapidly con- 
verting themselves into mere debris of plaster of Paris " (Hours in 
a Library, First Series, p. 241). 

2 Ibid,, p. 222. 8 Ibid., p. 234. 

I * J ^* 

From the painting by J. Patoun in the National Portrait Gallery. 

•» O •> 

*»•: i*.-*-*- 

^ '. 


magniloquent inscription composed by Lord Jeffrey 
and fixed in the foundation-stone.^ But it is upon 
the man, even more than upon his writings, that 
memory dwells most fondly, even in the third and 
fourth generation after those who lived beside him. 
How, then, may nobler elegy be spoken of him than 
by repeating those sentences of rugged old Thomas 
Carlyle ? 

It can be said of Scott, when he departed he took a man's 
life along with him. No sounder piece of British manhood 
was put together in that eighteenth century of time. Alas ! 
his fine Scotch face, with its shaggy honesty, sagacity and 
goodness, when we saw it latterly on the Edinburgh streets, 
was all worn with care, the joy all fled from it, ploughed 
deep with labour and sorrow. We shall never forget it — we 
shall never see it again. Adieu, Sir Walter, pride of all 
Scotchmen ! take our proud and sad farewell. 

Scott's novels were not all of the " buff jerkin " 
type, which Carlyle esteemed but lightly. In many 
of his chapters Edinburgh as he knew it is as faith - 

1 " This Graven Plate, deposited in the base of a votive building 
on the 1 5th day of August in the year of Christ 1 840_, and never 
likely to see the light again till all the surrounding structures have 
crumbled to dust by the decay of time, or by human or elemental 
violence, may then testify to a distant posterity that his countrymen 
began on that day to raise an effigy and architectural monument 
TO THE MEMORY OF SiR Walter Scott, Bart., whosc admirable 
writings were then allowed to have given more delight and sug- 
gested better feeling to a larger class of readers in every rank of 
society, than those of any other author, with the exception of 
Shakespeare alone, and which we therefore thought likely to be 
remembered long after this act of gratitude on the part of the first 
generation of his admirers should be forgotten. 

He was born at Edinburgh, 15th August 1771, 
And died at Abbotsford, 21st September 1832." 


fully reflected as it might be in a contemporary diary. 
At the present time of writing, when the manhood 
of the nation has been drained to fill the ranks at 
the front, one may carry away from a visit to the 
metropolis an impression not very different, mutatis 
mutandis, from that described by Jonathan Oldbuck 
to Miss Wardour in The Antiquary on returning 
from Edinburgh where all men were preparing for 
Napoleon's threatened invasion : 

I called to consult my lawyer ; he was clothed in a dragoon's 
dress, belted and casqued, and about to mount a charger which 
his clerk (habited as a sharp-shooter) walked to and fro before 
his door. I went to scold my agent for having sent me to 
advise with a madman ; he had stuck into his head the plume 
which, in more sober days, he wielded between his fingers, and 
figured as an artillery officer. My mercer had his spontoon in 
his hand, as if he measured his cloth by that implement instead 
of a legitimate yard. The banker's clerk who was directed to 
sum my cash account, blundered it three times, being dis- 
ordered by the recollection of his military tellings-ofF at the 
morning drill. I was ill, and sent for the surgeon — 

He came — but valour had so fired his eye. 
And such a falchion glittered on his thigh, 
That, by the gods, with such a load of steel, 
I thought he came to murder, not to heal. 

I had recourse to a physician, but he also was practising the 
more wholesale mode of slaughter than that which his pro- 
fession had been supposed at all times to open to him. 

News must have been as eagerly awaited by some 
— as tremulously by others — in those days as in the 
present time of an even greater war; but the time 
of waiting was far longer. The only newspaper 
published more than once a week in Edinburgh 


was the Evening Courant, for printing which thrice 
a week the Town Council had issued a licence to 
James M'Ewan as long ago as 1718. The Napoleonic 
wars were over before the Scotsman was established as 
a weekly paper in January 1817, the price of each copy 
being lOd. (6d. for the paper and 4d. for the stamp). 
It was avowedly the mouthpiece of the Whig party, 
which had been gaining ground rapidly in the North 
since the beginning of the century, as the Courant 
had long been the champion of the Tories. 

Matters now grew lively in journalism ; the organs 
of the respective parties rivalling each other in ran- 
cour. The Sentinel, a Tory rag started in Glasgow 
as a counterblast to the Scotsman, having published a 
libellous article on Mr Stuart of Dunearn, the editor 
saved himself from an action for damages by giving 
up the name of the writer, who was Sir Alexander 
Boswell of Auchinleck, son of Johnson's biographer, 
founder of the Auchinleck press, and author of many 
charming songs. Stuart challenged him ; they fought, 
and Sir Alexander was killed. 

Many years had to pass before the provincial press 
of Great Britain acquired such dignity of tone as 
enables its editors now to enjoy reading with equa- 
nimity about the Eatanswill Gazette. In 1823 the 
Scotsman began to be published twice a week at the 
reduced price of 7d. ; and in January 1855 the pro- 
prietors anticipated by six months the repeal of the 
stamp duty, and brought it out as the first daily 

newspaper in Scotland. 



The Whigs came into their own when the Reform 
Act of 1832 allowed the middle class to express 
its views. Hitherto the Scottish representation in 
Parliament had been overwhelmingly Tory. Of 
the five-and-forty members for Scottish seats, only 
thirteen voted in support of the Bill of 1881. In 
the election which followed upon its rejection 
Edinburgh suffered as much from rioting and mob 
violence as any other place in the kingdom ; never- 
theless, the Tory Robert Dundas of Whiterigg 
defeated the Whig Lord Advocate Jeffrey. As a 
test of popular feeling this result must be admitted 
as unsatisfying, seeing that the constituency which 
elected the sole parliamentary representative of 
the Scottish capital consisted only of thirty-three 
members of the Town Council 1 

The second Bill was thrown out by the Lords in 
October, and agitation ran its dangerous course ; 
but on 15th April 1832 there arrived in Edinburgh 
a coach bedecked with white ribbons and rosettes, 
having beaten all record by doing the journey of 
four hundred miles from London in thirty-six hours. 
Very different was the significance of these white 
ribbons from that of the Jacobite cockade, once so 
proudly flaunted in the Old Town. The news they 
brought was that the Lords had passed the third 
English Bill by a majority of nine. After that, the 
Whigs had it all their own way for a while. In 
the first reformed House of Commons the Scottish 
members could only muster nine against four-and- 

J * 































"• f .a 

) ,., « 


forty Ministerialists; and in Edinburgh, Dundas 
received but 1529 votes against 4028 recorded for 
Jeffrey and 3855 for Abercromby. 

Nearly two centuries had run their course since 
Charles I. made his despairing effort to play off the 
Scottish Presbyterians against his Puritan Parliament, 
and visited Edinburgh in 1641 in pursuance thereof. 
Since that day no British monarch had set foot in 
the capital of Scotland. Even the outward emblems 
of sovereignty — the Crown, the Sceptre, and the 
Sword, composing the " Honours of Scotland," as 
the Regalia were termed of old — had been wholly lost 
sight of for one hundred and ten years. They lay 
unseen and forgotten in the oaken chest wherein they 
had been stowed away on 26th March 1707, when 
the Scottish Parliament rose from its last sitting. 
Forgotten, indeed, perhaps by all save one. The 
chest with its precious contents was locked up in the 
Crown Room of the Castle, and it was owing to the 
restless patriotism of Sir Walter Scott that they 
ever saw the light again. He was told that the 
Honours had been removed to England in the 
eighteenth century ; indeed, he was shown in the 
Tower of London what was alleged to be the ancient 
Crown of Scotland. He was not satisfied, and begged 
the Prince Regent in 1815 to issue a commission em- 
powered to enter the Crown Room in Edinburgh 
Castle and make a thorough search. Accordingly, 
ten commissioners were appointed in 1818, and on 


4th February of that year, the door of the room was 
unlocked and the Honours were discovered in their 
silent resting-place. Sir Walter has gleefully re- 
corded the incidents of the exhumation;^ but he 
rested not until he succeeded in bringing the Prince 
to Edinburgh, after he had ascended the throne as 
George IV., and given Macaulay opportunity for a 
sneer by figging out his sovereign in full Highland 
costume. " King George," says Macaulay, '' thought 
that he could not give a more striking proof of his 
respect for the usages which had prevailed in Scot- 
land before the Union than by disguising himself 
in what, before the Union, was considered by nine 
Scotchmen out of ten as the dress of a thief" The 
cult of the kilt has its humorous points, especially 
when a Hanoverian monarch honours it in his own 
person ; but a historian more generous than Macaulay 
might have lent recognition to all that had been done 
on many a stricken field to redeem the Highlanders 
from their cloudy past, and so to ennoble their 
graceful garb as to secure for it respect and honour 
in any European court. 

Among other functions discharged by King George 
during his visit to Edinburgh in 1822 was laying the 
foundation-stone of a monument which has often 
puzzled strangers to understand. Far seen upon the 
Calton Hill stand twelve huge Doric pillars, recalling 
the Parthenon both in their design and situation. 
That masterpiece of Grecian architecture is precisely 

^ Miscellaneous Prose Works ^ vol. vii. 


what it was intended to reproduce in the city whose 
inhabitants love to hear it spoken of as the Modern 
Athens. This building was designed to commemorate 
all the Scottish soldiers and sailors who had laid 
down their lives in the Napoleonic wars. The 
foundation-stone, weighing six tons, was laid amid 
salvoes from the Castle and a squadron in the Firth, 
and the intention was that the building when complete 
should be the Scottish Invalides or Valhalla. But, 
alas ! the money to finish it could not be raised ; the 
work was suspended after some £20,000 had been 
spent thereon. Perhaps it is an object more effective 
in the landscape than if the whole design had been 
carried out ; but as a memorial monument it has 
failed in its purpose, for not one person in a thousand 
to whom it is a familiar feature knows what it means. 

After the independence of the Presbyterian Church 
of Scotland had been won by a resolute nation, 
secured by the Act of Settlement in 1689 and 
confirmed by the Act of Union in 1707, there en- 
sued a long period of reaction from the strife of 
creeds which had raged for more than one hundred 
years. In Edinburgh, as I have attempted to 
describe, the laity as a whole preserved, throughout 
the eighteenth century, a calm which has been 
interpreted as spiritual torpor ; albeit that English 
visitors continued to be impressed by the mainten- 
ance, far stricter than in England, of the outward 
forms of religion — Sunday observance, church-going, 


daily family worship, etc. There was plenty of 
controversy among the clergy, of course ; but it 
revolved round ecclesiastical government rather than 
doctrinal subtleties, leading to the important seces- 
sions of 1733 and 1751. 

Nevertheless, both the Act of Settlement and 
those sections of the Act of Union which dealt with 
the constitution of the Church of Scotland had 
been mined by the Act of 1711, which restored lay 
patronage, thereby violating and nullifying the 
solemn pledges which had been exacted for the 
spiritual independence of the Church. The mine 
was not laid secretly; it was prepared in the sight 
of all men. Formal protest against what had 
been done was made and renewed several times by 
resolutions of the General Assembly ; a few clergy 
hived off in indignation, drawing with them enough 
of their flocks to found new sects ; but the 
explosion was delayed until a much later time. 
When it did come it was of great violence. 

Many and various were the forms of spiritual 
revival which took place after the close of the 
revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Among other 
developments was the growing ascendancy of the 
Evangelicals (the High Fliers of the eighteenth 
century) over the Moderates in the General Assem- 
bly. The lay patrons of Scottish parishes had, as 
a rule, exercised discreetly the right of presenting 
ministers to the cure of souls. But the Evangelicals, 
had never acquiesced, as the Moderates had done. 


j^miWiiTO ^tw toni -^y^TBWwi 


ST Giles's church : the thistle chapel. 

ft* ■*' • 

- * > * :** ; 

* • ' *» •..' 

•" m 




in the restoration of patronage; wherefore, having 
obtained a majority in the General Assembly, they 
proceeded in 1834 to pass a Veto Act, declaring 
the indefeasible right of any congregation to make 
and sustain objection to the appointment of the 
patron's nominee; which Act, in the opinion of 
leading ecclesiastical lawyers, would be recognised 
by the Courts of Law as being within the legislative 
powers of the General Assembly. The presenta- 
tion of a minister to the parish of Auchterarder by 
the Earl of Kinnoul, in the teeth of objection by 
five-sixths of the congregation, gave opportunity for 
a test case. The Presbytery having sustained the 
objection under the Veto Act, an appeal was made 
to the Court of Session in 1838, where a majority 
of judges decided that the Presbytery had acted 
illegally in rejecting the patron's nominee, and the 
House of Lords confirmed this judgment. 

Again: in the Strathbogie case the Presbytery, 
having objected to the patron's nominee, proceeded 
to appoint one of their own choosing. The original 
nominee obtained judgment in his favour in the 
civil courts; whereupon the Presbytery dutifully 
complied by receiving him. Forth flew a command 
from the General Assembly that the order of the 
civil court must be disregarded and that under 
the Veto Act enforced. The Presbytery, having 
refused to take this rebellious course, were promptly 
suspended from their ministerial functions by the 
Commission of the General Assembly, and were in- 


formed that they might consider themselves fortunate 
in not being deposed. 

The General Assembly next appointed ministers 
to conduct public worship in the churches of the 
suspended ministers, notwithstanding that the Court 
of Session pronounced interdict to restrain it from 
doing so.^ 

Here, then, was the highest ecclesiastical court in 
Scotland in collision with the highest judicial court, 
acting in defiance of its interdict, and repudiating 
the authority of the Imperial Parliament as ex- 
pressed in the Patronage Act of 1711. The claim, in 
effect, was the same as that sustained by John Knox's 
Church, namely, that ecclesiastical authority was not 
only co-ordinate with civil jurisdiction in spiritual 
matters, but superior to it. The claim, however, 
differed from that advanced before the Reformation 
and after it by the Church of Rome, which extended 
ecclesiastical authority to include temporal matters. 

This much it has been necessary to say, though 
in barest outline, to explain the movement which 
profoundly affected life and manners in Edinburgh 
in the mid-nineteenth century, and roused bitter 
feelings which had slumbered since the close of the 
covenanting troubles. Matters came to a crisis in 
1840 when the Court of Session issued a second 
interdict, prohibiting the ministers appointed by 
the General Assembly from holding services, not 

^ In Scots law the term '* interdict " is equivalent to the English 
" injunction." 


only in the churches, but in the parishes of the 
suspended ministers. 

The leader of the Evangelicals at this time was 
Dr Thomas Chalmers, a preacher of extraordinary 
eloquence and influence who had been the chief agent 
in framing and passing the Veto Act/ He met the 
second interdict by direct defiance of the civil court. 
" If the Church command, and the Court counter- 
mand, a spiritual service from any of our office-bearers, 
then it is the duty of all the ministers and all the 
members of the Church of Scotland to do precisely 
as they should have done though no interdict had 
come across their path." 

Fortunately, the interdict was never enforced. 
The followers of Dr Chalmers would have welcomed 
nothing so warmly as that proceedings should be 
taken against the intruding ministers. In the seven- 
teenth century the State never shrank from enforc- 
ing its decrees upon recalcitrant churchmen ; in 
the nineteenth century it wisely abstained from the 
manufacture of martyrs. At first it seemed probable 
that Parliament would afford relief by legislating on 
the lines of the Veto Act, which, after all, were far 
from unreasonable or revolutionary, provided that 
safeguards were enacted against the veto being 
exercised for any cause other than valid objection to 
the character or principles of a patron's nominee. 
But although the majority of Scottish members were 
in favour of such a solution. Parliament could not be 

1 He is commemorated by a statue in George Street. 


brought to sanction inferentially the open defiance 
of the civil law by the General Assembly, and the 
opportunity for a conciliatory measure was lost. 

Little did Queen Victoria's Ministers realise the 
magnitude of mischief that was brewing. Lord 
Advocate Macneill and Dean of Faculty Hope 
assured the Home Secretary, Sir James Graham, 
that, if it should come to a secession, not more than 
some thirty ministers would give up their livings, 
led by "wild men" like Dr Chalmers, Professor of 
Theology in Edinburgh University, Dr Thomas 
Guthrie of Old Greyfriars,^ and Dr Robert Candlish 
of St George's. One enthusiast undertook to eat all 
the clergy that " came out." Graham afterwards 
declared that, had he been rightly advised of the 
nature and extent of the movement, there would 
never have been a disruption. 

The storm burst when, at the meeting of the 
General Assembly in May, sentence of deposition 
was pronounced upon the ministers composing the 
Presbytery of Strathbogie. The Court of Session 
issued a third interdict against their deposition. The 
Assembly retorted by a resolution that the interdict 
was a breach of the Church's privileges. In the 
General Assembly of 1842 the Claim of Rights was 
carried against the Moderates by a majority of two 
to one. Next year, on 7th March, the House of 
Commons refused, by 241 votes to 76, to entertain 

^ Dr Guthrie's statue stands on the south side of Princes Street — 
" Preacher and Philanthropist." 

THE REV. THOMAS GUTHRIE, D.D. : 1803-1873. 

^ d >1 

•> ■) 


•< *> 

* -». 

A * on.') 4 


the claim, which both the Prime Minister and the 
leader of the Whig Opposition declared to be incom- 
patible with the supremacy of civil law. 

The General Assembly met on 18th May 1848. 
While the Marquess of Bute, as Lord High Com- 
missioner, was holding the usual preliminary levee in 
Holyroodhouse, the cord supporting the portrait 
of William III. snapped, and the heavy picture fell 
with a crash on the floor. " There goes the Revolu- 
tion Settlement! " exclaimed somebody. After divine 
service in the High Church, the session was opened 
by the retiring Moderator, a fervid Evangelical, in 
St Andrew's Church, George Street, which was used 
at that time as the Assembly Hall. But instead of 
constituting the Court and calling upon it to elect 
his successor, he delivered a protest against the in- 
fringement of the privileges of the Church, and 
called upon all faithful ministers to withdraw with 
him and assemble elsewhere. He then walked out 
of the church, followed by more than four hundred 
ministers, whom he led in procession through the 
streets to a hall at Canonmills, where Dr Chalmers 
was elected Moderator of the Assembly of the Free 
Church, and the Disruption was complete. "Though 
we quit the Establishment," said Dr Chalmers, " we 
go out on the Establishment principle. We quit a 
vitiated Establishment; we would rejoice in return- 
ing to a pure one. To express it otherwise — we are 
the advocates for a national recognition and national 
support of religion, and we are not Voluntaries." 


Seventy-three years have passed since these words 
were spoken ; it is forty-two years since the original 
rock of offence was removed by the abolition of lay 
patronage in the Established Church of Scotland in 
1874 ; what hinders, then, the fulfilment of Dr 
Chalmers's hope of reunion ? That is a problem 
whereon the present writer has neither the knowledge 
nor the boldness to hazard a forecast. He has referred 
to these high matters only because they are insepar- 
ably woven into the story of the Scottish capital; 
but this much he will dare to affirm, that if it should 
prove possible to effect a union of the Presbyterian 
Churches of Scotland, without sacrifice of principle 
on either side, there is no true lover of his country 
who will not acclaim that result as a consolidation of 
the spiritual forces of the land in their conflict with 
evil, and a relief from conditions which have for long 
been a perplexity to many thoughtful minds. 



**' ,4 -Old* » 
« * " , ^ «» 



Lanfranc's Letter to Queen Margaret (p. 9) 

Archbishop Lanfranc'^s letter was printed in Stevenson''s notes 
to the Maitland Club edition of Gray's Scalacronka in the 
original Latin. As it bears high testimony to Queen 
Margaret's piety, a translation is here submitted: — 

" Lanfranc, the unworthy prelate of the holy Church of Canter- 
bury, to the illustrious Margaret, Queen of Scots, greeting and 
blessing : 

"Epistolary brevity cannot express with how much joy thou 
hast filled my heart in reading the letters which thou, O Queen 
beloved of God, hast sent me. O with what sweetness flow the 
words which are inspired by the Divine Spirit ! for I believe that 
those which thou hast written were not spoken by thee, but 
through thee. Verily He has spoken by thy lips who saith to 
His disciples : ' Learn of me, because I am gentle and humble in 
heart.* From this teaching of Christ it results that thou, born 
of royal race, royally educated, nobly married to a noble king, 
choosest me as [spiritual] father — me, a foreigner, a vile, ignoble 
man, entangled by sins — and beseechest that thou mayest be 
accounted as spiritually my daughter. I am not what thou deemest 
me, but may I become such because thou so deemest me. Be not 
deceived : pray for me that I may be a father worthy to pray to 
the Lord for thee and to be heard [by Him]. Henceforth, there- 
fore, may I be thy father and thou my daughter. 

" In accordance with thy behest, I am sending to thine illustrious 
consort and thyself our dearest brother Sir Goldwin and two other 
friars also, because he could not by himself explain unaided what 
should be done about God's service and thine own. And I entreat 





— I earnestly entreat — that ye will study to carry out promptly 
and thoroughly that which ye have taken in hand for God and 
your own souls ; and if ye should be able and willing to fulfil what 
ye have undertaken by [the help ofj others, we would earnestly 
desire that these our friars should return to us, they being ex- 
tremely necessary in their offices of our church. Nevertheless, 
let your will be done, for beyond all things we desire to obey you." 


The Revenues of Edinburgh (p. 97) 

While it would be difficult to ascertain what was the exact 
gross revenue of the municipality of Edinburgh in the sixteenth 
century, it is easy to estimate its wealth relatively to the other 
burghs of Scotland from the "extents" or levies made from 
time to time on the Three Estates. For instance, in October 
1545, a levy of £16,000 was made, practically a war tax, for 
the defence of the West and Middle Marches. Of this sum 
the spiritual lords were called on for £8000, the barons for 
£5333, 6s. 8d., leaving £^666, 13s. 4d. to be raised in the 
burghs in the following proportion : — 


. £775 



Lanark . 



. 67 





Linlithgow . 



Selkirk . 







. 22 




. 337 9 7 


. 27 

Perth . 

. 198 



Banff . 



. 63 

Dunfermline . 


Irvine . 

. 36 

CuUen . 



. 46 

Forfar . 

13 10 


. 54 

Brechin . 

. 45 


t . 27 

Haddington . 



. 27 

North Berwick 





Cupar . 


Crail . 


Forres . 


Nairn . 




Dysart . 














Dunbar . 
Lauder . 
Peebles . 
Elgin . 
St Andrews 

In this assessment the burgh of Wigtown does not appear ; 
in other lists about the same period it is assessed at the same 
figure as Whithorn and Jedburgh, The wealthiest of the 
provincial burghs is Dundee, assessed at half the value of 
Edinburgh. Glasgow was of inferior importance to St 
Andrews. The total assessment amounts to £2695, 13s. 7d., 
being £29, Os. 3d. in excess of the sum required. 

The growth of Edinburgh and Dundee in wealth and 
importance under the Stuart dynasty may be estimated by 
comparison with the fixed rents paid to the Crown by the 
royal burghs of Scotland in 1327, the year when peace was 
concluded with England: — 



13 4 


. £20 


. 213 

6 8 

Cullen . 


Perth . 

. 160 

Forfar . 

18 13 4 


. 46 


18 13 4 


. 36 


18 13 4 



18 8 




. 30 


13 2 

Rutherglen . 

. 30 



Haddington . 


6 8 





6 8 

Linlithgow . 


Crail . 

. 22 

9 4, 






6 3 4 

Dumbarton . 


Mill of Mouskis 


BanflP . 


6 8 



The Scottish Reformation (p. 110) 

The ancient league with France helped to stave off the 
reform of religion in Scotland for six-and-twenty years after 
it had been established in England ; but the minds of the 
people had been preparing for it, and when they did take 
action it was with all the greater vehemence for the delay. 
In no place was the revolution more swift and sweeping 
than in Edinburgh, where the citizens, fully apprised of the 
cynical profligacy of many of the higher clergy, had be- 
come disgusted by the frequency with which licentious prelates 
condemned men of orderly, religious lives to burning on the 
Castle Hill. 

The first outbreak took place in 1558 when the festival of 
St Giles was to be celebrated as usual on 1st September, when 
a painted wooden image of St Giles, the size of life, would be 
borne in procession through the streets, followed by some 
unhappy heretics carrying faggots, which they must either 
burn in token of recantation, or themselves be burnt. But 
before the feast day the image of St Giles was no more ; the 
people tore it down from its place in the church, flung it into 
the Nor** Loch, then hauled it out and burnt it. Thereupon 
the Archbishop of St Andrews laid an injunction upon the 
Town Council either to recover the image or to replace it 
with another, else he would lay them under the greater ex- 
communication. But bell, book, and candle had lost their 
terrors for the magistrates of Edinburgh. Their reply was 
as bold as it was dignified, to the effect that "to thame the 
charge appeired verray injust, for thei understood that God in 
some plaices had commanded idolles and images to be distroyed; 
but whare he had commanded images to be sett up, thei had 
nott redd ; and desyred the Bischope to fynd a warrant for his 
commandment.*"^ Then "because they obeyed him not, he 

^ Knox's History of the Reformation^ vol. i. pp. 258-59. 


[the Archbishop] caused his curate Tod^ to curse them as 
black as a coal."^ 

It seemed, at first, as if the curse had taken effect, for in 
November 1559 the Lords of the Congregation made a 
hurried departure from Edinburgh, the city was occupied by 
the Queen-Mother's French troops, and St Giles's Church was 
consecrated afresh by the Bishop of Amiens. But the revival 
was transient : in March following the church was again under- 
going repairs by direction of the Protestant Town Council, and 
John Knox resumed his pulpit for good and all. His descrip- 
tion of these transactions, though one could not reasonably 
expect it to be impartial, deserves perusal on account of its 


The Treasures of Holyrood Ahhey (p. 113) 

From an inventory taken sixty years before Hertford's sack 
of Holyrood, it appears that he must have carried away much 
valuable spoil, for, although the wealth of Scotland as a nation 
had greatly diminished in the interval, as shown by the debase- 
ment of the coinage, the Church had continued to amass wealth. 
The inventory is in Latin, whereof the following is a trans- 
lation : — 

This inventory was written on the 12th day of October anno 
Domini 1483, of all the Jewels, Vestments, and Ornaments of the 
High Altar and the Vestry of the Monastery of Holyrood, existing 
and remaining at the time of this writing. 

1. Item — First, one new suit [mutatorium novum] of vestments of 

cloth of gold, to wit, a chasuble, two tunics, three albs, one 
stole, one maniple, and three amices. 

2. Item — One suit of satin vestments of a blue colour upon gold, 

to wit, one chasuble, two tunics, two albs, one amice. 

^ Dom Laurence Tod, prebendary and acting-provost of St Giles. 
2 Historie of the Estate of Scotland^ Wodrow Miscellany, p. 54. 



3. Item — A suit of vestments called Douglass, of a golden colour, 

to wit, one chasuble, two tunics, two albs, and two amices. 

4. Item — A suit of vestments called Earl Marshall, of cloth of 

gold, to wit, one chasuble, two tunics, two albs, and one 

5. Item — A suit of vestments of cloth of gold with blue, to wit, 

one chasuble, two tunics, one alb. 

6. Item — A suit of crimson vestments of cloth of gold with ruby 

colour, to wit, one chasuble, two tunics, three albs, three 
amices, one stole, and one maniple. 

7. Item — A suit of vestments of cloth of gold with white colour, 

to wit, one chasuble, two tunics, three albs, one amice. 

8. Item — A suit of velvet vestments of a blue colour, to wit, one 

chasuble, two tunics, three albs, three amices, two stoles, and 
two maniples. 

9. Item — A suit of the best crimson vestments of a ruby colour, 

to wit, one chasuble, two tunics, three albs, three amices, 
one stole, and one maniple. Also one ancient stole and a 
satin maniple. 

10. Item — A suit of damask vestments of a grey colour, to wit, 

one chasuble, two tunics, three albs, three amices, one stole, 
and one maniple. 

11. Item — A suit of black velvet vestments for the dead, to wit, 

one chasuble, two tunics, three albs, three amices. 

12. Item — A suit of ancient black satin vestments for the dead, to 

wit, one chasuble, two tunics. 

13. Item — A suit of vestments of a green colour, to wit, one 

chasuble, two tunics, two albs, two amices, and a third of a 
blue colour. 

14. Item — For saints' feast days, one chasuble of ruby coloured 

velvet and two tunics. 

15. Item — For the season of Lent, one chasuble of white damask, 

one stole, and one maniple. 

16. Item — One alb of pure silk, called of St Thomas the Martyr. 

Item — For the high altar — three tapestries or sacramental clothes, 
with three frontal hangings and one tapestry for the 
approach to the altar on feast days. 

Item — One spread of cloth of gold with ruby colour for the high 


Item — One spread of ruby coloured damask for beneath the altar, 

and another upon the altar. 
Item — One spread of black velvet for the dead, and another of 

damask embroidered with the royal arms. 
Item — Two spreads of white camlet for the feasts of the Blessed 

Virgin Mary. 
Item — Two cushions of cloth of gold for the high altar, and one of 


Item — First, a new cross of pure gold with precious stones, to wit 
thirty, with wood of our Lord's cross, with a leathern 

Item — An ancient silver cross, with wood of our Lord's cross. 

Item — A great silver cross, with its foot, weighing 180 ounces. 

Item — A silver cross for [the sacrament], with a silver chain. 

Item — A cross of crystal. 

Item — Three caskets [.''] ^ of silver gilt. 

Item — A glass casket. 

Item — An ivory casket. 

Item — An ivory tabernacle for St Katharine's altar. 

Item — The silver arm of St Augustine, with the bone of the same, 
and two rings weighing 84 ounces. 

Item — A silver reliquary for St Katharine's altar (with her 
bone), made by John Crunzanne, foraierly vicar of Ure, 
weighing. . . . 

Item — There are ten chalices in all — to wit : 

1. A chalice of purest gold, with paten, weighing 46 
ounces, with a leathern case. 2. The chalice of King Robert. 
3. The chalice of King David. 4. The chalice of the Holy 
Virgin Mary's altar. 5. The chalice of St Andrew's altar. 
6. The chalice of the Holy Virgin Catherine's altar.^ 7. The 
chalice of the altar of the Holy Rood. 8. The chalice of 
Sir John Marshall. 9- The chalice of Sir John Wedale. 
10. Another common chalice, besides the chalices outside 
the door of the chancellory, to wit : 11. The chalice of 
the parochial altar; and 12. The silver chalice, not gilt, of 
the infirmary. 
Item — Two ancient silver candlesticks [candelabra]. 

^ Textus. 

^ Written above " Katerine," the saint's name is here spelt " Caterine." 


Item — Four new silver candlesticks weigh one stone and four 

Item — Two silver candlesticks of little weight in the abbot's chapel. 
Item — Two brazen candlesticks^ and two iron ones for festivals. 

For the Abbot's Pontificals. 

Item — First, a mitre with precious stones. 

Item — Another mitre of white damask. 

Item — Two valuable amices. 

Item — A pastoral staff. 

Item — Three rings. 

Item — An ivory comb, cum tela. 

Item — A silken girdle. 

Item — Three silken pallia, for carrying the cross or the sacrament. 

Item — A great silver-gilt eucharistial, weighing l65 ounces, besides 

two bells set with precious stones. 
Item — A great silver cup for the sacrament. 
Item — A vase of silver gilt for holy water with hyssop. 
Item — Two silver censers with a spoon [acerra] for incense. 
Item — Two ewers of silver gilt for the high altar. 

Memorandum — That there are two silver ewers for the altar of 
the Holy Rood ; and two silver ewers for St Katharine's altar ; and 
two silver ewers, with a silver casket, and an ivory image of the 
Blessed Virgin, with a silver foot ; and a glass ewer [filled] with 
oil of the blessed Andrew for St Andrew's altar. 

Here followeth the Inventory of Caps. 

First — A new cap of cloth of gold and blue. 

Item — Two caps of cloth of gold and ruby red, with two ornaments 

of silver gilt, one of them set with precious stones, the other 

without stones. 
Item — A cap of crimson and gold with gold bands and a beryl in 

the breast. 
Item — A cap of cloth of gold and crimson, having on the hood a 

stag with the Holy Rood.^ 
Item — A crimson cap set with golden roses. 
Item — A cap of blue velvet. 

^ In allusion to the mythical origin of the monastery. 


Item — Three caps of crimson velvet. 

Item — Three caps of white damask. 

Item — Three caps of blue velvet. 

Item — Two purple caps. 

Item — A cap of camlet, with another cap of the same colour. 

Item — Two caps of cloth of gold, called Douglass. 

Item — Three caps with golden horns [pullis\ 

Item — Three black velvet caps for the dead. 

Item — Four caps of green damask. 

Item — A green velvet cap with orphragiis [? ear-flaps] of cloth of 

Item — A purple cap with black velvet orphragiis^ for the chamber. 

First, for the honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a great apparel, 
to wit a stande, to wit, one cap with a chasuble and two tunics, 
with three albs, three amices and their pertinents in precious cloth 
of gold and white ; and twenty damask caps, also white, with 
orphragiis of cloth of gold and blue, and with some orphragiis of 
black velvet. Which apparel — called in English a stande — [the 
Abbot] intended should remain in perpetuity in the vestry of the 
said monastery among the jewels and vestments. 

Item — At the same time the same Abbot ^ intended to decorate 
the high altar with four curtains of double tartar of a blue colour, 
arranged and finished with their fittings and other necessary things. 


The Mercat Cross (p. 117) 

"The market cross in Scotland is the emblem of local justice and 
authority, which became the emblem of corporate authority — 
essentially civil, yet having acquired an ecclesiastical name well 

1 Archibald Crawford, who wrought great changes on the Abbey 
Church, repairing it after the damage done by Richard II. 's raid in 1385, 
and greatly altering the building. His coat of arms may still be 
recognised on some of the buttresses, having been carved, it is said, 
upon thirty different parts of the fabric. 


suited to ensure greater protection to those who came to buy and 
sell ; and we have the link with classical times, in that market- 
places in ancient Greece were always put under the protection of 
Zeus, Athena, or Hermes, who guarded the fidelity of contracts there 
made, and punished sharp dealings or breach of faith." i 

The Mercat Cross of Edinburgh, a feature as prominent in 
the landscape of the ancient city as in the history of the country, 
has suffered many vicissitudes. There is no record of the time 
when it was first set up, but during the Stuart dynasty it con- 
sisted of a shaft twenty feet long, surmounted by a carved 
capital supporting a crown unicorn. The shaft was set on 
the platform of an octagonal, turreted building, fifteen feet in 
diameter and sixteen feet high, right in the fairway by St Giles's 
Church, whence it was removed by order of the Town Council in 
1617 in order that James VI., revisiting Scotland for the first 
and last time after becoming King of England, should have an 
uninterrupted view in passing up the High Street. It was then 
re-erected near the Nether Bow, where it stood till March 1756, 
when the Town Council decreed its removal, because, says 
Maitland, it was one of the buildings " whereby the High 
Street was greatly pestered and obstructed and the beauty of 
the noble street greatly eclipsed." In the previous century it 
had suffered some mutilation at the hands of the Parliamentary 
Commissioners sitting at Dalkeith in 1652. All emblems of 
royalty being odious to them, they caused the king's arms to 
be taken off the Cross, the Nether Bow, the Parliament House, 
Holyroodhouse, etc., and the crown carried by the unicorn to 
be removed and hung on the gibbet. 

From 1786 onwards the Scottish capital was without a Cross, 
though the magistrates caused the stones of the pavement where 
it had stood to be laid in a cruciform pattern. Repeated attempts 
by Sir Walter Scott and others to induce the Town Council to 
restore this venerable monument were without avail, until in 
1884 Mr Gladstone, Prime Minister and member for Midlothian, 
persuaded them to allow it to be reconstructed at his expense. 

1 Glasgow, Cross^ with a suggestion as to the origin of Scottish Market 
Crosses^ by W. G. Black, LL.D., p. 22. 


Such portions of the old Cross, including the shaft, as could be 
recovered, were pieced together and set up at the entrance to 
Parliament Square. And now once more, as in the olden time, 
the heralds make royal proclamations standing beside the City 
Cross. Other scenes of which the Cross was the centre piece 
may not be re-enacted in our milder age. It marked one of 
the three chief places of public punishment in the city. 

It was here in 1563, in the first black fury against the old 
religion, that the priest James Tarbat was pilloried in his 
vestments and pelted to death by the mob. It was here in 
1575 that the chivalrous Kirkcaldy of Grange, after defending 
Edinburgh Castle for five years in Queen Mary's cause, was 
hanged at the vehement instance of the Presbyterian clergy, 
his brother James suffering at the same time ; here also, eight 
years later, the Earl of Morton was beheaded, having sent 
many a man to his doom on the same spot. It was beside the 
Cross that " the Maiden " was set up in 1661 for the decapitation 
of Archibald, eighth Earl and first Marquess of Argyll, and 
again in 1685 for that of his son, the ninth earl. These be but 
a few among the more distinguished leaders who, according to 
the savage code of the time, were sent to their doom on this 
spot. Of humbler victims the tale is not to be numbered ; 
though the memory of one, at least, Gilderoy, the Red Lad, 
has been enshrined in balladry, his sole claim to that distinction 
being that he was a bolder and more successful thief than the 
rest of the Macgregors, ten of whom, besides himself, were 
hanged together at the City Cross on a summer morning in 

Even these gruesome records of capital punishment are less 
revolting than the minor penalties of flogging, branding, 
tongue-boring, ear-slicing, and other worse torments publicly 
inflicted for the edification of a curious multitude. Take a 
single instance from NicolPs diary for September 1652 : 

Twa Englisches, for drinking the kingis health was takin and 
bund at Edinburgh croce, quhair either of thame resavit thretty- 
nine quhipes [stripes] on thair naiked bakes [backs] and shoulderis ; 
thairafter thair lugs [ears] was nailit to the gallows. The ane had 


his lug cuttit fra the ruitt [root] with ane razor ; the uther being 
also naillit to the gibbet had his mouth skobit [? forced open], and 
his tong being drawn out the full length, was bound togedder 
betwix twa sticks, hard togedder, with ane skainzie thrid [fine 
thread] for the space of half ane hour thereby. 

The only thing that may be urged in palliation of these 
barbarous punishments is that imprisonment was rendered 
futile by the ease with which captives escaped from any place 
of detention except the Castle. 

Another place of execution was the Grassmarket. Among 
those who suffered there the most illustrious victim was the 
great Montrose, who, to gratify the deadly hatred of the 
Covenanters, was condemned to the ignominy of being hanged, 
instead of death by " The Maiden " which was deemed more 
honourable. Early in the morning of 21st May 1650, 
Montrose, having dressed in his cell with scrupulous care, 
and taken for breakfast a little bread dipped in ale, went on 
foot from the Tolbooth to the Grassmarket, as a year before 
his royal master had gone afoot from St James's to the 
scaffold in Whitehall. NicoU, whose diary in parts is as 
minute, if less prolix than Pepys's, witnessed the execution, 
and describes Montrose as being " very richly clad in scarlet, 
laid over with rich silver lace, his hat in his hand, his bands 
and cuffs exceeding rich, his delicate white gloves on his hands, 
his stockings of incarnate silk, and his shoes with their ribbands 
on his feet and sarks provided for him, with pearling about, 
above the pund the elne. All these were provided for him 
by his friends." But, strangely enough, Nicoll states that the 
execution took place at the Market Cross, whereas it certainly 
was in the Grassmarket. There was set upon the scaffold a 
gibbet of the unusual height of thirty feet, so that all the 
multitude might see him suffer, and there, in the fair flower 
of his manhood (he was only thirty-eight), perished one of 
Scotland's noblest and ablest sons. 

The third, and probably the original, place of doom was 
the Castle Hill. Here, were it possible for any citizen of 
sixteenth- or seventeenth-century Edinburgh to revisit the 







• * 

« *r •■! * 



scene he would be sorely perplexed by the changes that have 
been wrought on the ground. The spacious esplanade before 
the Castle gate now fills the hollow whence access could only 
be had to the drawbridge by a flight of forty steps. This 
hollow was levelled in 1753 with the material excavated in 
building the Royal Exchange : in it lay a huge boulder, half 
buried, known as the Blew Stane, round which many a furious 
hand-to-hand encounter took place when, as so frequently 
happened, the City and the Castle were held by opposing 
forces. It was to this Blew Stane that hundreds of male- 
factors and innocent persons were brought for doom — traitors 
and what would now be reckoned members of the Opposition 
(no distinction was then recognised between them) to be 
hanged or beheaded ; heretics, previous to the Reformation, 
and witches after it, to be burnt at the stake ; sometimes, as 
in the case of Lady Glamis, simply as members of a house 
which had incurred the displeasure of the king or the leader 
of a successful faction. 

It occasionally happened that the waiting list for the gallows 
was such a long one that criminals were taken out to a gibbet 
on the Borough Muir. This was evidently the case when the 
luckless clan Macgregor was being dealt with. On 20th January 
1604 five Macgregors were hanged at the City Cross, twelve 
more on 17th February, and four more on 2nd March, all in 
addition to the hanging of ordinary malefactors. Wherefore, 
there being five more Macgregors to dispose of on 1st March, 
they were sent out to the Borough Muir gallows. Between 
23rd April 1603 and 14th July 1604, twenty-one Macgregors 
were hanged at the City Cross, five hanged and one beheaded 
on the Castle Hill, and eleven hanged on the Borough Muir — 
forty-eight in all. 

Equally relentless was the persecution of gipsies in the 
reign of James VI. With James IV. and James V. they had 
found considerable favour, but in 1603 the Secret Council 
issued a proclamation, confirmed by the Parliament of 1609, 
"commanding and chargeing the Vagaboundis, Soirneris 
[beggars] and commoun Thevis, commonlie callit Egipi'ianes 
to pas furth of this Kingdome, and to remane perpetuallie 


furth thairof, and nevir to returae agane within the samyn 
vnder the pane of daithe." The law was so vigorously enforced 
against this mysterious race that on 1st August 1611 four 
of them were hanged; on 23rd July 1616 three men and a 
woman were sentenced to the same doom, and on 24th January 
1624 no fewer than eight men were hanged at once, six of 
whom belonged to the famous family of Faa. On the 29th 
the widows and daughters of these men, eleven in number, 
were sentenced by the Justiciary Court "to be tane to the 
place of thair executioun in some convenient pairt, and thair 
to be drowned quhill [until] thay be deid ; and all thair 
moveabill guidis, gif thay ony haif [if they have any] to be 
confiscat to his Majesteis use." Now the drowning of eleven 
women and girls seems to have been an operation too revolting 
even for the stomachs of seventeenth-century judges, so they 
suspended the execution till the king's pleasure should be 
known. King James wrote from Hampton Court to say 
that, " We allow well of the course taiken fer executeing of 
the men,**' but that concerning the rest, seeing that they were 
" aither childrene and of lesse-age and wemen with chyld or 
giving sucke to childrene," and that they had been a long 
time in prison (and God knows what awful dens prisons were 
in that age), he agreed " of our clemencie " that the sentence 
of death should be commuted to one of perpetual banishment. 




''The Maiden'''' (p. 137) 

Morton was sentenced to be hanged ; it was by the king'^s 
command that he suffered a less dishonouring death by the 
Maiden, an instrument for decapitation on lines similar to those 
of the guillotine. It is now preserved in the Scottish National 
Museum of Antiquities, Queen Street, Edinburgh. 



Hume of Godscroft alleges in his History of the House of 
Douglas (1644) that Morton introduced this machine into 
Scotland — "the Maiden, which he himself had caused make 
after the patterne which he had seen in Halifax in Yorkshire "" — 
and this statement has been repeated by innumerable later 
writers. It rests, however, on no better foundation than does 
the fable which represents Dr Guillot as having perished by the 
instrument which bears his name. Labour-saving machinery 
for the decapitation of obnoxious or superfluous statesmen and 
common criminals was in use in various countries of Europe 
during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The Maiden itself 
was made to the order of the Provost and Magistrates of 
Edinburgh in 1564. Previously to that year "the common 
sword " was the official weapon of doom. From the following 
entry in the City Records it seems that this had been worn out 
by frequent use. 

1563. Februarie. The Baillies and Counsall ordaines Mr Robert 
Glen the Treasurer to coften [borrow] fra William Makcartnay his 
two-handed sword to be usit for ane heiding [beheading] Sword, 
because the auld Sword is failzet [worn out], and to give him five 
pounds thairfor. 

The first notice of an execution under the Maiden occurs on 
3rd April 1565, and it continued in use till 1710. A few 
extracts from the City Treasurer's Accounts may illustrate the 
care bestowed upon it and the kind of service it was made to 
render : 

1565. Item the thrid day of Apryle to the pynouris 
[pioneers] for the bering of dailies [deales] 
and puncheoins fra the Blakfreirs to the 
Croce with the Gibbett and Madin to mak 
ane scafFald, and awayiting thereon, the 
day quhen Thome Scot was justefeitt [ex- 
ecuted] . ...... vij*. 

Item to ane wrycht for making of the Scaffald 

and dountaking thairof agane . . . viij *. 

Item for nailes thairto ..... xxxijc^. 


1565. Item for tymmar [timber] to hald the gibett 

fast iij«. 

Item to Andro Gottersoun, symth, for grinding 

of the Madin ...... vj*. vjrf. 

1582. June 9- The Lokman^ charges for scharping 

the Madin . . . . . . vj*. viijc?. 

The lokman has iij to drink besides his charge 

for towis [cords] to skurge a man. 
For hanging Fraser, Turnbull and Blak . . xv^y. \]d. 

For bringing the ladder to thame . . . \\\}d. 

The lokman has to drink .... \id. 

At the same tyme for towis and wands to 

skurge twa theiffis ..... viijc?, 

1583. June 9- For ule and saip [oil and soap] to 

cresche [grease] the Madin with . . vj*. viijc?. 

For scharpening the Madin .... vj*. viijrf. 

1583. June 9. Three faddomis of towis . . . is. \]d. 
June 22. Gevin to the lokman for the keiping 

of the snap of the Madin and for ane barrel 

to put it in ...... vj*. viijc?. 

Item for creisching and creisch [grease] to it . vjj. viijc?. 

Item for twa poks of bran to put about it . ij.9. viijrf. 

1584. The lokman to get him ane garmentt and ane 

staff [his livery is specified as consisting of 
doublet, shoes, bonnet, coat of white and 
grey cloth, hose and a shirt] . . . viij/. viij.9. v]d. 

1591. [In this year the Maiden was lent to Leith] 

William Gibsone wha was tane and execut 

in Leith : for careing of the Maiden ther 

and hame agin ..... xxx*. 

The Madin mendit, for wryghtwark and smyth- 

wark ........ xvj. 

1600. November I9. Item, payit for making the 

skaffauld to umquhile the Earle of Gowrie 

and his Brother, with scharpeing of the 

axe ........ xxiij-y. iiijc?. 

^ Public executioner. So called because he was allowed the privilege 
of taking a " lock " or handful of meal from every sack exposed in the 



""• ••% 

W J •« 

•■ c 

J «> •- 


1600. Item, payit to aucht workmen for helping to 
mak the skafiauld^ with carrying of thame 
thare and taking thame to the burialls . xxxij*. viijrf. 

Item, payit to the maissoun for making the 
hoillis [holes] to the preikis [spikes] upon 
the heid of the Tolbuith [where the heads 
of Lord Gowrie and his brother were ex- 
posed] • . . . . . . iiij/. ix*. iiijrf. 

Item, payit to the lokman for the executing 
and putting up of the heids and quarteris, 
and towis thairto ..... xxjj. iii^d. 

In 1608 the lokman himself was hanged, and the Town 
Council had to send to Dalkeith for another lokman to hang 

1615. Item, the vi Februarie to the warkmen for 

making the skaffald to the Erie of Orkney iiij/. xs. 

Item for ane staine and half pund lead to 

mend the Maidin ..... xxxvj. v]d. 

Item to William Melrose wrycht for his paines xxxvjj. vjrf. 

Item to the warkmen for wayting on the 

skafiald ....... xl. 

Item for scharping the Maidin to byte . 
161 8. September 18. Item for ten puncheons to be a 
scaffold for Ros the Minister at xvsk. the 
piece is ...... . vij/. x*. 

Item for gret towis and smale . . . xv*. 

Item for saip [soap] ..... ij*. \njd. 

Item to the warkmen in drink . . . iiij*. 

Item to David Broune for making the scaftald iiij/. 

Item to ane ordinar warkmen for ane doubble 

scaffald carrying ..... Iiij*. iiijd. 

Item for carrying the corps . . . . xx*. 

Item for carrying the axe .... vj*. viijd. 

Item to lokman for putting the heid and hand 

on the Port ...... xx*. 

Item for pricks to put the heid and hand on . xii*. 

161 9- Item to David Broune at the execution of twa 
Hielandmen with the Maidin at the [Castle] 
hill ........ xl. 


1619. Item for X fadome of towis to the lokman . xl. 

Item for vi fadome of small towis . . . iiij j. 

Item for making of the grave .... xxxvjj. 

Item for xxi ells of hardin to be thair wyndin 

shett vij*. Y)d. the ell .... vij/. xvijj. \]d. 

Item to the wemen that wind thame . . xijj. 

1633. Item to wrychts for setting of the Maidin 
twyce to the woman that was heidit at the 
Castlehill ...... ij/. 

Item to the lokman for his paines tack in upon 

the woman that was heidit . . . iiij/. 

1647. For the Maidin ane ell of buckrame to kep 

[catch] the heid. 
1 649. James Wilson — payit to the warkmen for hold- 
ing of him till he was execut and for keiping 
[catching] his heid. Ane ell of buckrame 
to keip the heid. 
1660. To Alexander Davidsone for ane new axe to 
the Maidin, and he is to mainteane it all the 
dayis of his lyfie. 

It may be remarked in connection with the various m'ethods 
of executing condemned persons in Scotland, that only two 
instances are on record of resort to the brutal torment of break- 
ing a malefactor on the wheel. Under this dreadful punishment 
the victim was bound to a wheel and it was the executioner'*s 
duty to break his limbs one by one under blows from an iron 
bar or ploughshare. Thus the agony of the sufferer might be 
indefinitely prolonged, until it pleased the presiding authority, 
or the executioner himself, to bring the shameful spectacle to a 
close by a mortal blow. 

On 30th April 1591 John Dickson, convicted of parricide, 
was condemned " to be broken vpoun the row [wheel] at the 
Mercat Cross of Edinburgh.""^ The other instance occurred 
in 1604, when Robert Weir was executed in this manner for the 
murder of John Kincaid, Laird of Warriston, committed four 
years previously. Kincaid was a wealthy landowner, and his 
wife, a daughter of John Livingstone of Dunipace, was but 

^ Pitcairn's Criminals Trials^ vol. i. part ii. p. 241. 

''THE MAIDEN" 303 

twenty-one years old and, it is said, extremely beautiful. She 
alleged that her husband ill-used her ; wherefore, as she after- 
wards confessed, with the connivance of her nurse, she hired her 
father's servant Weir to murder him ; which he did by strangling 
him at midnight. Weir escaped for the time ; but the Lady of 
Warriston was beheaded by the Maiden at the Girth Cross (at 
the foot of the Canongate) on 5th July 1600. Her high-born 
kinspeople succeeded in obtaining this mode of execution as 
being less dishonouring than the usual modes of executing 
female criminals, namely, drowning, or strangling at the stake, 
and burning; but they failed to obtain the favour of having 
it done by night. In a Memorial of her conversion by one 
of the clergy, found among the Wodrow MSS., occurs this 
remarkable objection addressed to the magistrates against 
such a proceeding. "Will you deprive God's people of that 
comfort which they might have in that poor woman's death ? 
And will you obstruct the honnour of it by putting her away 
before the people rise out of their beds ? You do wrong in 
so doing ; for the more publick the death be, the more profit- 
able it shall be to many, and the more gloriouse in the sight of 
all who shall see it." It will be remembered that Dr Johnson 
used a similar argument in favour of public executions in 
England. " The old method was most satisfactory to all 
parties. The public were gratified by a procession, and the 
criminal was supported by it. Why is it all to be swept 
away .? " 

The nurse, as Birrell records in his journal, was burnt on 
the same day as her mistress was beheaded. He also mentions 
that Robert Weir, the actual murderer, was taken, four years 
later, tried, convicted, and " broken on ane cart wheel wt ane 
coulter of ane pleughe [plough] in the hand of the hangman." 
Of a truth our ancestors had need for stronger stomachs than 
their posterity possess ! 


Abbot, The, 256. 

Abbotsford, 271. 

Abercromby, 275. 

Aberdeen, 47, 163, 164, 192, 199. 

Adam, Robert, 143, 258. 

William, 258. 

Advocates' Close, Edinburgh, 234. 

Library, Edinburgh, 234. 

vEgidius, 238. 

-^neus Sylvius, 53. 

Agnew, Sir Andrew, of Lochnaw, 
in Hereditary Sheriffs of Gal- 
loway, 175, 176. 

Aikman, William, 234. 

Ailred of Rievaux, 9. 

Alastair, Lord of the Isles, 52. 

Albany, Alexander, Duke of, 'J2,-, 
74, 75, 76, n. 

Duke of, 44, 92, 93, 97- 

Regent, 48, 49, 51, 52. 

Alcluyd, 2. 

Alexander I., King, 11. 

III., King, 18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 


VI., Pope, 83. 

son of James IV., 83. 

Alnwick, 10, 18, 62. 

Amiens, Bishop of, 289. 

Amory, 244, 245. 

Anderson, Jonet, 150. 

Aneurin, 5. 

Angus, Earl of, 62, 76, 76, 102, 104, 
109, 113. 

Archibald, fifth Earl of, 86, 

92, 93, 94, 95- 
William, 154. 

Anne, Queen, 185. 

of Denmark, Queen, 147, 155. 

Queen of France, 84, 85. 

Antiquaries of Scotland, Proceed- 
ings of Society of, 12. 
Society of, 6. 

Antiquary, The, 271. 
Antonine's Wall, 4. 
Argyll, 79. 

Duke of, 187. 

ninth Earl of, 173, 295. 

Marquess of, 167, 169, 173, 

174, 295. 
Arisaig, 190. 
Arran, Thomas, Earl of, ']2i', 92, 93, 

94,95, III, 113, 120. 
Arthur, King, 6, 7. 
Arundel, Earl of, 158. 
Assembly Hall, Edinburgh, 283. 
Athelstaneford, 226. 
Atholl, Earl of, 54, 76, 134. 

John, Earl of, 105. 

Auchinleck, Lord, 221. 

chronicler of, 64, 65, 66. 

Auchterarder, 279. 

Ayr, 151. 

Aytoun's Lays of the Scottish 

Cavaliers, 87. 

Bacon, Francis, 140, 158. 

Baillie, Father, 159. 

Baird, John, 151. 

Balcanquall, Walter, Dean, 156. 

Balcarres, 180. 

Balfour, Sir James, in his Annates, 

103, 167. 

Robert, 136. 

Baliol, Edward, 32, 33. 

John de, 19, 20, 26. 

Balmerino, Lord, 166. 

Bank of Scotland (Old Bank), 

Edinburgh, 195, 197. 
Bannatyne, Richard, 230, 231. 
Bannockburn, 29, 32. 
Barbour, 29, 30. 

Barclay, David, of Mathers, 105. 
Baresse, the, Edinburgh, 89. 
Barons of Exchequer, 248. 




Barrie, Sir James, 269. 

Barroun, James, 123. 

Basset, Sir Ralph, of Drayton, 26. 

Bastian, 132. 

Bearford's Parks, Edinburgh, 201. 

Beaton, Cardinal, 92, 94, 95, 96, 

Beattie, Dr James, 261. 
Beauly Church, 138. 
Bellenden, Abbot, 112, 114. 

John, 97. 

Bellenden's translation of Boece's 

history, 14, 16. 
Berlin, 198. 
Bernicia, 5. 

Bertraham, Provost William, 78. 
Berwick, 2, 13, 18, 24, 26, 28, 39, 

47,76, III, 165, 166, 179, 189, 

193, 230. 
Beza, 225. 

Bishop of Edinburgh, 162. 
Black, W. G., in his Glasgow Cross^ 

Blackadder, Captain, 133. 
Black Friars' Church, Edinburgh, 

94, 96, 121, 125, 126, 142. 
Blackfriars' Wynd, Edinburgh, 95, 

Blackness Castle, 4, 61. 
Blackwood, Alexander, 269. 

William, 269. 

BlackwoocPs Magazine^ 268, 269. 
Blaikie, W. B., Edinburgh at the. 

Time of Prince Charles^ 196, 

Blew Stane, Edinburgh, 297. 
Blois, 116. 

Blue Blanket, the, 78, iii. 
Boece, 56, 57, 58, tj. 
Bonkil, Sir Edward, portrait of, 70. 
Bonnie Dundee^ 181. 
Bordeaux, 230. 
Borough Muir of Edinburgh, 32, 

85» 153, 297. 
Borthwick, Sir William de, 48. 

Castle, 134, 135. 

Boswell, Sir Alexander, of Auchin- 

leck, 273. 

James, 221, 228, 232, 273. 

Bothwell, 131, 132, I33,I34j i35>I36. 

Adam, Bishop, 114, 246. 

Brig, 176. 

Castle, 28. 

Bothwell, Lord, 76. 

Bower in his Scotichronicon^ 52, 

Bowhead, Edinburgh, 253. 
Boycott, 90. 
Boyd, Sir Alexander, 73. 

Lord, 73. 

Bran tome, Pierre de, 116, 118. 
Brereton, Sir William, in his 

Travels^ 203, 204. 
Bristo, 196. 

Place, Edinburgh, 177. 

Port, Edinburgh, 89. 

Brougham, Henry, 267, 268. 
Brown, Professor Hume, 60. 
Bruce, Robert the, 29. 

Robert, 147. 

Sir William, 117, 247, 249. 

Brude, King, 2. 
Brus, Robert, 66. 
Buchan, Earl of, 76. 

John, Earl of, 105. 

Buchanan, George, 58, 102, 146. 
Buckingham, Earl of, 158. 

Palace, 222. 

Bullock, William, 33, 34. 

Bunbury, 262. 

Burgh Records, Edinburgh, 85, 88, 

89, 93- 
Burke, 90. 

Burlington House, 259. 
Burnet, Captain James, 263, 264. 
Burnett, George, 50. 
Burns, Robert, 224, 260, 261, 262, 

263, 265, 266. 
Bute, Marquess of, 283. 
Byris, Johnne, Thesaurer, 157. 

Calderwood, History of the Church 

of Scotland^ 103, 152. 
Caledonian Mercury^ 192, 195. 
Calton Hill, Edinburgh, 102, 126, 

276, 277. 
Camlan, 7. 
Campbell of Skipness, 104, 105. 

Thomas, 242, 243. 

Candhsh, Dr Robert, 282. 
Canfer, Wolfaert, Lord of, 64. 
Canongate, 17, 32, 114, 116, 117, 

13s, 161, 178, 189, 192, 193, 

210, 242, 246, 257. 

Press, The, 268. 

Canonmills, Edinburgh, 201, 283. 




Carberry Hill, 134. 

Carlisle, 17, 188. 

Carlyle, Dr Alexander, 213, 214, 

226, 227, 228, 234. 

Thomas, 271. 

Caroline, Queen, 215. 

Carrick, Earl of, afterwards Robert 

III., 39, 40, 47. 
Carriden, 4, 5. 
Carstares, William, 181. 
Cassillis, Gilbert, Earl of, 105. 
Cassius, Chronicle of Dio, 2. 
Castle of Edinburgh, 2, 11, 16, 18, 

19, 20, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 

33, 34, 35, 36, 40, 45, 46, 52, 56, 
58, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 74, 
75,76,79,88,96, 111,112, 138, 
146, 161, 165, 166, 167, 191, 195, 
241, 252, 253, 256, 275, 277, 296. 

Hill, Edinburgh, 107, 120, 149, 

150, 153, 210, 288, 296, 297. 

Rock of Edinburgh, 2, 3, 10, 

II, 12, 16, 36, 63, 80, 105, 199, 

Street, Edinburgh, 240. 

Caw, James, in his Scottish Por- 
traits^ 70, 233. 

Caxton, William, 82. 

Chalmer, Christopher, 54. 

Chalmers, David, 130. 

Dr Thomas, 281, 282, 283, 284. 

Chalmers' Caledonia^ 6. 

Chamberlain, the, 49. 

Chambers, Robert, in his Traditions 
of Edinburgh^ 256. 

Street, Edinburgh, 142. 

Chambord, 116. 

Chandelar, John le, 26. 

Charles I., 55, 122, 160, 161, 162, 
165, 167, 168, 169, 170, 173, 
174, 205,206,275. 

II., 170, 174. 

VI., Emperor, 40, 41. 

VII., 122. 

XL, 250, 257. 

Edward, Prince, 190, 191, 192, 

193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 250. 
Charlotte, Queen, 239. 
Chatelherault, Duke of, 115. 
Chenonceaux, 116. 
Chepman, Walter, 82. 
Chirurgeon-Barbers, Guild of, 140, 


Christ's Hospital, London, 156. 
Christie's, 259. 

City Chambers, Edinburgh, 78. 
Guard, Edinburgh, 161, 210, 

2X1, 212, 213, 215, 216, 217, 

218, 263. 
Clerk, Marion, 99. 
Clifford, Sir Thomas, 105. 
Coates House, Edinburgh, 201. 
Cochrane, 74, 76. 
Cockbewis, Sir Johne, 80. 
Cockburn, Lord, in his Memorials^ 


Patrick, of Newbigging, 63. 

Coleridge, 231. 

Colinsburgh, 21. 

College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, 

Royal, 81, 140, 141. 
Columba, 2. 
Common food, the, 1 19. 
Comyn, Walter, Earl of Menteith, 

19, 20. 
Constable, 266, 268. 
Convention of Royal Burghs, 24, 

Cope, Sir John, 190, 192, 193, 194, 

Cornelius of Zurich, 121. 
Corstorphine, 191. 
Court of Session, 130, 220, 221, 

245, 279, 280, 282. 
Covenanters, the, 164, 165, 166, 167, 

174, 177,178. 
Cowgate, Edinburgh, 63, 89, 199. 
Craig, James, 238, 239, 240, 241. 

John, 1x6, 134. 

Craigleith, 254, 257. 

Craigmillar Castle, 74. 

Craik, Sir Henry, in his Century oj 

Scottish History^ 185. 
Crauford, William, 49. 
Crawford, Archibald, 293. 
Crawfurd, Abbot, 246. 
Creech, William, 265, 266. 
Creichton, George, Bishop, X13. 
Crichton, John, of Ruthven, X05. 
Sir William, 56, 57, 58, 60, 6x, 

62, 65, 66. 
Crockett, S. R., 269. 
Cromwell, Oliver, X17, 157, X70, 171, 

172, 174,248. 
Cross of Greenside, Edinburgh, 102. 
Crown of Scotland, 275, 276. 



Culloden, 198. 
Cunningham, Allan, 193. 
Cunninghame, Dr {see Dr Fian), 

Cupar, castle of, 33. 
Curry, Walter, 33, 34, 35- 
Custumar of Dundee, the, 49. 

of Edinburgh, 49. 

Cymri, 2. 

Dalgleish, 132. 

Dalkeith, 66, 118, 173, 265, 294. 

Castle, 63. 

Earl of, 219. 

Presbytery of, 226, 227. 

Dalrymple, 235. 
Daly, David, and his wife, loi. 
Dalziel of Binns, 175. 
Dante, 261. 

Darnley, Henry, Lord, afterwards 
King, 127, 128, 130, 131, 132, 

133, 134, 136. 
David I., 6, 14, 15, 16, 17,22,24, 

27 2^I. 

II., King, 10, 35, 36, 37, 38, 

48, 233. 
Dedyk, William de, 28. 
De Foe, 185. 
Devia (Yorkshire), 5. 
Dickson, John, 302. 
Dineiddyn, 5. 
Discipline, Book of^ 124. 
Diurnal, The, 107, 123, 124, 129. 
Donald Ban, 10, 13, 14. 
Douglas, Archibald, 93. 
Archibald, fourth Earl, 48, 49, 


Archibald, fifth Earl of, 55, 56. 

Archibald, Lord of Galloway, 


Archibald, 220, 221. 

Provost Archibald, of Kil- 

spindie, 128. 
Sir Archibald, of Kilspindie, 


David, 58, 59. 

Duke of, 219, 220. 

Duchess of, 220. 

Earl of, 40, 41, 45. 

Gawain, 94, 96. 

George, of Pittendreich, 104. 

James, Earl of Morton, 134, 

Douglas, James, seventh Earl, 48, 

James, ninth Earl, 64, 65, 1 76, 

James, 29. 

Lady Jane, 219, 220, 221. 

William, sixth Earl of, 57, 58, 

William, eighth Earl, 60, 61, 

62, 76. 

Sir William, of Liddesdaill, 32, 

33, 34, 35- 
William, 35. 

Douglas, 226, 227. 

Drummond, Lord, TJ. 

Lord Provost George, 188, 

George, 142. 

Lord John, 186. 

Margaret, 84. 

Street, Edinburgh, 89. 

Drumselch, 14, 15. 

Drumseuch, 14. 

Drumsheugh, 201. 

House, 219. 

Dryburgh, 21. 

Abbey of, 43. 

Du Croc, 134. 

Duddingston, 192. 

Dumfries, 62, 1 50. 

Dunbar, 62, 66, -JT, 117, 131, 133, 


Earl of, 28. 

Gavin, 97. 

the Poet, 82, 203. 

Dunbarton, i, 3. 
Duncan, 10. 

II., 13, 14. 

Dun Bretann, 2. 
Dundas, James, 66. 

President, 220. 

Robert, of Arniston, 229, 267, 

268, 274, 275. 
Dundee, 47, 180, 181, 182. 
Dunedin, 5, 7. 
DunfermHne, 8, 11, 13, 54. 

Abbot of, 83. 

Durham, 189. 

Bishop of, 88. 

Cathedral, 10, 252. 

James, of Largo, 256. 

Durie, John, 230. 
Durward, Alan, 19, 20. 



Earl Marischal, the, 215. 
Ecclesiastical Commissioners, loi. 
Edgar, 11, 13. 

Atheling, 8. 

Edinburgh Review^ The^ 267, 268. 
Edinburgh Regiment (now King's 

Own Scottish Borderers), 182, 

Edmonstone, John. 
Edmund, 13. 
Edward I. of England, 10, 26, 27, 

28, 29. 

II., 29, 32. 

III., 32, 35, 252. 

IV., 76, 77, 78. 

VI., no. 

VII., 222. 

son of Malcolm III., 10, 11, 13. 

Prince of Wales, 7^. 

Edwin of Northumbria, 4, 5, 6. 

Edwinesburch, 6. 

Eglinton, Lord, 77. 

Eital, 86. 

Eleanor, Queen, 19. 

Elgin, 26. 

Elizabeth, Queen, 134, 157. 

Elliot, Sir Gilbert, 223. 

English Exchequer Rolls, 33. 

Erasmus, 202. 

Ermengarde de Beaumont, 18. 

Erskine, Alexander, 129. 

Hon. Henry, 267. 

Esk, 134. 

Estates, meetings of, 93. 
Evandaill, Lord Chancellor, 77. 
Evening Courant, I95> 273. 
Evergreen^ The^ 223. 
Evers, Lord, iii. 

Falaise, treaty of, 18. 
Falkirk, 28. 
Falkland Palace, 109. 
Ferguson, Adam, 262. 
Fian, Dr, 148. 
Fielding, Sir John, 218. 
Fife, 239, 256. 
Fisher, Bishop, 108. 
Fisherrow, 206. 
Flanders, 122. 
Fleming, Lord, 77. 

Sir David, 60, 

Sir Malcolm, of Cumbernauld, 

59, 60. 

Flodden, 85, 86, 88, 92, 104, 199, 


Wall, Edinburgh, 89. 

" Flying Scotsman," 236. 

Foote, Samuel, 242. 

Forbes, Duncan, of Culloden, 229, 


John, Master of, 103, 104. 

Sir William, 214. 

Fordun, John of, 11, 13, 20, 72. 

Forester, Adam, 40. 

Forrest Road, Edinburgh, 177. 

Forth, Firth of, 2, 4, 78, 191, 277. 

France, 2, 63, 83. 

Francis, 203. 

Eraser, Hon. William, 214. 

Fraserburgh, 21. 

Fraser-Tytler, 85. 

Frederick Street, Edinburgh, 239. 

Frew, Ford of, 191. 

Froissart, 42, 43. 

Fullarton, Adam, 123. 

Fuller, Thomas, 112. 

Galfridde Melville, 18. 

Galileo, 140. 

Galloway, 150. 

Gardiner's Dragoons (now 13th 

Hussars), 190, 191. 
Garleton, 193. 
Garter King-of-Arms, 78. 
Gascony, 230. 
Gaunt, John of, 39, 42, 144. 
General Assembly, 152, 164, 168, 

185, 224, 227, 256, 278, 279, 

280, 282, 283. 
Post Office, Edinburgh, 238, 

Gentle Shepherd^ 223, 224. 
Geoffrey of Monmouth, 7. 
George I., 197, 198. 

II., 142, 215. 

III., 144, 228, 238, 239. 

IV., 67, 183, 276. 

of Tours, 86. 

Square, Edinburgh, 257. 

Street, Edinburgh, 239, 240, 

Gib, John, 136. 
Gilderoy, 295. 
Gillray, 265. 

Girth Cross, Edinburgh, 251, 302. 
Gladstone, W. E., 294. 



Gladstone's land, Edinburgh, 254. 
Glamis, John, sixth Lord, 104, 105. 
Lady, Jean Douglas, 104, 105, 

108, 297. 
Glasgow, 107, 178, 179, 197, 199, 273. 

College, 156. 

Glen, Robert, 299. 
Glenbervie, Lord, 261. 
Glencairn, 134. 

Earl of, 260. 

William, Master of, 105. 

Glendower, Owen, 46. 
Glenfinnan, 190. 
Gloucester, Earl of, 19. 
Gododin^ the, 5. 
Goldsmith, John, 38. 

Oliver, 232. 

Goldwin, Friar, 9, 285. 

Gordon, George, first Duke of, 180, 


Duke of, mansion of, 253. 

Gourlay, Norman, 102. 
Gowrie, Earl, 147, 300. 
Graham, James, 238, 240. 

Sir James, 282. 

Sir Robert, 54. 

Grassmarket, Edinburgh, 30, 121, 

137, 170,213,215,296. 
Gray, Lord, 'j'j. 

Sir Andrew, 31. 

Gray's Scalacronica^ 285. 

Grayfrere port, 99. 

Great Northern Railway, 236. 

Greenock, 255. 

Grey de Wilton, Lord, 115. 

Greyfriars', Edinburgh, 125, 126, 

156, 163, 176, 177, 178. 
Grierson, Thomas, 262. 
Grinstead, Church at, 16. 
Grose, Captain, 248. 
Guest, General, 191, 196. 
Guillot, Dr, 299. 
Guile, Richard, 27. 
Gustavus Adolphus, 166. 
Guthrie, Alexander, 130. 

James, 174. 

Dr Thomas, 283. 

Gyliot, Alexander, 38. 

Haddington, 18, 40, 66. 

Church of, 35. 

Hailes, Lord, Sir David Dalrymple, 
224, 232, 234. 

Halcartoune, 151. 
Haldane of Gleneagles, 165. 

Patrick, 191. 

Half-Moon Battery, 36. 
Haliburton, Walter of, 48. 
Hall, Mr, 152. 
Hamilton, Alexander, 174. 

first Duke of, 164, 169. 

Duke of, 220, 221. 

Gavin, 226. 

Sir James, of Finnart, 93, 94, 

Sir Patrick, 81, 94, 95. 

Thomas, 126. 

Hampton Court, 71, 235, 298. 

Conference, 152. 

Hanna, Dean, 162. 

Hare, 90. 

Harrison, John, 138. 

Harte's Life of Gustavus Adolphus^ 

Harvey, Robert, 140, 141. 
Hathornden, 96. 
Hausmann, 255. 
Hay of Talla, 132. 
Haydn's Dictionary of Dates^ 169. 
Heading Hill of Stirling, 51. 
Heart of Midlothian, see Tolbooth. 
Henderson, Alexander, 163. 
Henry L, King of England, 18, 19. 

IV., King of England, 45. 

VL, 66. 

VII. of England, 83, 84. 

VIII. of England, 84, 97, 106, 

108, 109, no. III. 

son of King David, 18. 

Hepburn of Bearford, 201. 

of Bowton, 132. 

of Hailes, 72, 74, 76, 79. 

Heralds' College, London, 85. 
Heriot, George, 154, 155, 156, 

Katrine, 99. 

Row, Edinburgh, 201. 

Heriot - Watt College, Edinburgh, 

157, 176. 
Hertford, Lord, afterwards Duke of 

Somerset, in, 113, 116, 12 

246, 289. 
High Court of Justiciary, 100. 

Kirk, see St Giles's Cathedral. 

Riggs, Edinburgh, 176. 

School, Edinburgh, 126. 




High Street, Edinburgh, 54, 63, 95, 
135, 154, 161, 167, 169, 203, 208, 
218, 223, 237, 294. 

Hog, Robert, 36. 

Holborn, 189. 

Holland, Elizabeth, Lady, 250. 

Holyrood Abbey Church, 12, 35, 
40,44,52, 54,84, 112, 113, 161, 
249, 180, 289. 

Court House, 1 1 7. 

Abbot of, 83. 

Chapel of, 128, 134. 

Holyroodhouse, 6, 15, 52, 64, 71, 
loi, 102, 112, 113, 116, 118, 120, 
123, 128, 129, 131, 132, 136, 

141, 148, 155, 157, 158, 160, 

161, 162,168,177,179,192,196, 

205, 220, 235, 246, 247, 248, 

Holy Trinity Church, Edinburgh, 

68, 69, 70. 
Home, John, of Cowdenknowes, 105. 

John, 226, 227, 234. 

Lord, 74, ^T, 79- 

Office, Enghsh, 216. 

Hope, Dean of Faculty, 282. 

Horner, Francis, 267. 

Howell, in his Familiar Letters y 

Hume, David, 234. 

of Godscroft, 60, 299. 

Huntly House, Edinburgh, 237. 
Lord, " Cock o' the North," 


Lords, 92, 133. 

Husband, Charles, 214. 

Indulf, 7. 

Infirmary, Royal, Edinburgh, 141, 

142, 143, 156, 193. 
Ingioborg, 10. 
Inglis, James, 97. 
Innes, Cosmo, 21. 
Innes^ Familie of^ 22. 
Innocent IV., 10. 

XII., 10. 

Inveresk, 226. 

Jacobite Easy Club, 223. 

James I., 47, 5°, 5^, 52, 53» 72, 233. 

II., 24, 55, 56,57, 58,61,62,63, 

64, 66, 67, 68, 76, 103. 

James III., 72, 73, 74, 76, ^-j, 78. 
IV., 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 

85,88,92, loi, 117,297. 
v., 58, 92, 96, 97, 102, 104, 

106, 108, 109, 116, 117, 297. 
VI., 108, 126, 134, 137, 144, 

146, 147, 148, 151, 152, 154, 

155, 157, 158, 159, 160, 173, 

235, 294, 297, 298. 

VII. and II., 179, 180, 247. 

VIII., 192. 

III., portrait of, 70. 

IV., portrait of, 70. 

IV.'s Tower, Holyrood, 117. 

Duke of York, afterwards 

James II., 67. 
Jamieson, George, 233. 
Janet, daughter of John, Lord 

Kennedy, 127. 
Jedburgh, 18. 
Jeffrey, Francis, Lord, 267, 268, 271, 

274, 275. 
Joan of Beaufort, Queen, 47, 54, 55, 

Johnson, Dr, 227, 228, 232, 235, 

Johnstone, Sir Patrick, 184, 185. 

of Warriston, 163. 

Jones, Inigo, 158. 

Julius II., Pope, 83. 

Justice of the Peace, The, 263. 

Kames, Lord, Henry Home, 232, 

Kay, John, 216, 264, 265. 

Kelso, 72. 

Kenmure, Lord, 188. 

Kennedy, Bishop, 61, 65, 72, 7^. 

Lord, 73. 

Ker, Professor, 260. 

Kerr, James of Mersington, 105. 

Killiecrankie, 182. 

Kincaid, John, of Warriston, 302, 


King James's private chapel. Holy- 
rood, 180. 

King's Bastion, Edinburgh Castle, 

Covenant, the, 164. 

Park, Edinburgh, 192. 

Kinghorn, 21. 

Kingston, Sir John de, 28. 



Kinloss, Abbey of, 138. 

Kinnoul, Earl of, 279. 

Kirchberg, 166. 

Kirkcaldy, James, 295. 

Sir William, of Grange, 137, 

139, 295- 
Kirkpatrick, William, of Kirk- 

michael, 105. 
Kirk-o'-Field, 125, 126, 131, 132, 

133, 136, 137, 140, 143, 144- 

Provost of, 127. 

Kirkwall Cathedral, 138. 

Knokkis, Henry, 52. 

Knox, John, 11,115, 116,118, 119, 

120, 124, 127, 128, 137, 138, 

139, 225, 230, 289. 
Knox's, John, Church, Edinburgh, 

158, 280. 
History of the Reformation^ 

John, house, Edinburgh, 237. 

Laing, David, 139. 

Lalain, Jacques de, 64. 

Lalain, Simon de, 64. 

Lambert, Benjamin, 158. 

Lanark, 39, 175. 

Lanfranc, Archbishop, 8, 285. 

Lang, Andrew, in his History of 
Scotland^ 50, 52, 171, 183. 

Lang Dykes (now Princes Street), 
Edinburgh, 191, 238. 

Langhorne, 263. 

Lascelle's Foot (now North Lanca- 
shire Regiment), 190. 

Laud, Dr William, 158. 

Laud's Liturgy, 162. 

Lauder, 174. 

Sir Alexander, of the Bass, 85, 


Bridge, 76. 

Henry, 107. 

Lauderdale, 177. 

Lauriston, 89, 143. 

Lawnmarket, Edinburgh, 196. 

Lee, Richard, 112, 113. 

Leibnitz, 140. 

Leith, II, 28, 32, 42, 64, 78, 79, 80, 
99, III, 112, 115, 118, 129, 165, 
167, 171, 178, 182, 187, 191, 
230, 236, 238. 

Wynd, 89, 125. 

Lennox, Lord, 51. 

• Regent, 137. 

Leslie, Sir Alexander, Earl of 

Leven, 164, 165, 166. 

David, 171, 172. 

Lethington, 133, 135. 

Leuyntoun, John of, 23. 

Leven, David Melville, Lord, 181, 

Ronald, eleventh Earl, 248. 

Lia Fail, 27. 

Lindores Monastery, TJ. 
Lindsay, Sir David, 97. 
Linlithgow, 39, 49, 73, 109, iii, 

163, 178. 
Livingstone, Sir Alexander, of Cal- 

lendar, 56, 57, 58, 60, 61, 65, 


James, 66. 

John, of Dunipace. 

Robin, 66. 

Livingstone's Yards, 89. 

Loches, 116. 

Lochiel, 192. 

Lochindorb Castle, 35, 

Lochleven, 136. 

Lockhart and his Life of Scott^ 226, 

262, 269. 

of Carnwath, 185. 

Logan, Robert, of Coitfield, 93. 
London, 162, 189, 197, 198, 227, 

234, 236, 239, 255, 274. 
Longherdmanston, 60. 
Long Parliament, 168. 
Lord High Commissioner, 184, 185, 

Lords, House of, 220, 241, 274. 
of the Congregation, 115, 121, 


of the Council, 208. 

of Session, 168, 215. 

of the Treasury, 249. 

Lorraine, Maria de, Queen, 106, 

Lothian, Archdeacon of, 27. 

Synod of, 227. 

Lothians, The, 5, 35, 43. 
Lounger^ The^ 260. 
Lubaud, Sir Piers de, 29, 31. 
Luckenbooths, Edinburgh, 223. 
Lulach, 8. 
Lumphanan, 8. 
Lynch, 90. 
Lyons, 200. 



Macaulay, Lord, 276. 

M'Caull, Marrion, 151. 

M'Dougallj Helen, 90. 

M'Ewan, James, 273. 

MacGibbon, David, 156. 

Macgregors, the, 153. 

M'Hattie, 207. 

Mackay of Scourie, 182. 

Mackenzie, Henry, 260, 261. 

MacKim of Mollance, 67. 

Mackintosh of Borlum, 187. 

Maclellan, William, 105. 

M'Neil, 197. 

Macneill, Lord Advocate, 282. 

Macrae, Captain James, 243, 244, 

Madeleine de Valois, Queen, 102. 

Madrid, 208. 

Magnum Bonum, Dr, 225. 

Magus Moor, 178. 

Mahieu d'Escouchy, 64. 

Maidens, Castle of the, see Edin- 
burgh Castle. 

Maidment, James, 264. 

Maitland Club, 285. 

William, 186, 294. 

Maitland's History of Edinburgh, 6. 

Makcartnay, William, 299. 

Malcolm IIL (Malcolm Ceanm6r), 
7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 21. 

Malcolm IV., 17, 18. 

son of King David, 18. 

Malloch, David, 260. 

Malory, 7. 

Malpeder, Mormaer of Mearns, 13. 

Mansel, John, 19. 

Mansfield, Lord, 241. 

Mansioun, Andro, 123. 

Mar, John, Earl of, 73, 74. 

Lords, 134, 187. 

March, Earls of, 32, 45. 

Margaret, Queen, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 

daughter of Henry IIL, 

18, 19, 20. 

the Fair Maid of Gal- 
loway, 61. 

of Denmark, portrait of, 


Tudor, Queen, Z:^^ 84, 85, 92, 

93, 117, 118. 

Marie de Gueldres, Queen, 64, 68, 
69, 72. 

Marie de Guise, Queen, 106, 115, 

Market Cross, Edinburgh, 54, 135, 

138, 161, 170, 173, 192, 200, 

Marmion, 268. 
Mary, Princess, Countess of Arran, 

Stuart, Queen, 11, 109, no, 

116, 118, 119, 120, 123, 125, 

127, 129, 130, 131, 132, 133, 

134, I35> 136, 137, 146, 295. 
Maxwell, John, 175, 176. 

Lord, yj. 

Robert, Lord, 105, 1 10. 

Sir William, of Monreith, 175. 

Sir William, 245. 

Melrose, Abbey of, 43. 
Melville, Andrew, 225. 

Sir James, 133, 139. 

Sir John, of Raith, 105. 

Mercat Cross, Edinburgh, 137, 153, 

293, 294. 
Merchiston, 86. 

Meriadec, Herv6, of Longueville,64. 
Merse, The, 35, 43. 
Millar, Andro, 82. 
Miller, Peter, 6. 
Minden, 262. 

Monboddo, Lord, 234, 236. 
Monck, General, 156. 
Monenna, S., 5. 
Monmouth, Duke of, 177, 178. 
Monro, Alexander, 141, 142, 144. 
Mons, in Flanders, 67. 

Meg, 67. 

Montgomerie, the Master of, 95. 

Montrose, 41, 49. 

Marquess of, 163, 165, 167, 

169, 170, 173, 181,296. 
Moray, Sir Andrew, 32, 35, 41. 

Earl of, 127, 128, 137. 

House, Edinburgh, 173, 254. 

Place, Edinburgh, 201. 

More, Sir Thomas, 108. 
Morton, Earl of, 295, 298. 
Mossgiel, 261. 

Mound, the, Edinburgh, 201. 
Moyle, General, 215. 
Murdoch, 48. 
Mure, Elizabeth, 54. 
Murray of Broughton, 197. 
John, 268. 



Murray, Randolph, 87. 
Musselburgh, 171, 172, 192, 206. 
Muttress Hill, Edinburgh, 238. 
Mylne, Rev. R. S. 158. 

Robert, 249. 

Mynyd, Agned, 6. 

Namur, Guy, Count of, 32. 

Napier of Merchison, 167. 

Napoleon, 262, 272 

National Covenant, 163, 164, 168, 
169, 171. 

Museum of Antiquities, Edin- 
burgh, 219, 298. 

Nelson, 261. 

Nennius, 6. 

Nether Bow, 17, 89, in, 127, 135, 
138, 157, 158, 161, 174, 187, 
192, 216, 294. 

Hole in Tolbooth, 100. 

Netherlands, 63. 

Neville's Cross, 10. 

New Town, Edinburgh, 201, 207, 
238, 239, 240, 242, 256, 257, 

Newbattle, 29, 265. 

Abbey of, 43. 

Newburgh, 21. 

Newcastle, 174, 189. 

Newcastle Couranty 189. 

New Exchange, London, 155. 

Greyfriars' Church, Edinburgh, 


Hailes, 233. 

Newhaven, 75. 

Newstead, 4. 

Newton, Sir Isaac, 140. 

New University Buildings, Edin- 
burgh, 144. 

New York, 210. 

Nicoll, John, in h\s Diary, 150, 171, 
248, 249, 295, 296. 

Nimrod (C. J. Apperley), 236. 

Nithsdale, Lord, 188. 

Norham, 86. 

Nor' Loch of Edinburgh, 63, 89, 
95, 99, 201, 207, 238, 241, 288. 

North Bridge, Edinburgh, 238, 242. 

British Railway, 63, 69, 126, 

201, 207. 

Station Hotel, 241. 

Christopher, 269. 

Northampton, treaty of, 10. 

Northumbria, 5. 
Nottingham, 168. 

Office of Works, 118. 

Old G reyfriars' Church, inburgh, 

Town of Edinburgh, 17, 200, 

207, 237, 239, 241, 242, 245, 

253, 254, 256, 257, 263, 265, 

270, 274. 
Oppidum Eden, 7. 
Orkney, Bishop of, 133. 
Orkneys, 178. 
Ormiston, 132. 

Lord Justice Clerk, 187. 

Ormond, Earl of, 62. 
Otterburn, 44. 
Sir Adam, iii. 

Paris, 200, 255. 

Parliament, English, 144, 167, 169, 

207, 274, 280, 282. 
House, Edinburgh, 165, 264, 

Scottish, 37, 38, 51, 57, 65, 80, 

81, 92, no, ns, 153, 161, 164, 

165, 167, 168, 169, 180, 181, 

182, 251, 275. 

Square, Edinburgh, 139. 

Paulinus, Bishop, 5. 

Pembroke, Earl of, 158. 

Penicuik, 14. 

Penicuke, Provost, 136. 

Pennant, in his Tour in Scotland, 

Pepys, in his Diary, 297. 
Percy, " Hotspur," 45. 
Perth, 13, 14, 18, 32, 47, 51, 92, 

153, 193,. 199. 
Carthusian monastery of, 54. 

Dominican monastery of, 54. 

Lord Chancellor, 179. 

Philip, David, 154. 

Pillans, 217. 

Pinkie, 113. 

Pitcairn, 216. 

Dr Archibald, 141. 

Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, 149. 

Pitscottie, 56, 57, 58, 61, 68, 74, 75, 

77, 79, 80, 81, 84, 85, 94, 96, 

Plantations, the, 178. 
Play fair, W. H., 201. 



Pleasance, the, Edinburgh, 89, 200. 
Poems chiefiy in the Scottish Dialect^ 

Polybius, 3. 
Porteous, Captain John, 213, 214, 

215, 216. 
Pourie, 132. 

Prendergast, Robert, 252. 
Preston, 170. 

General, 191. 

Sir William, of Gorton, 122, 

Prestonfield, 192. 
Prestongrange, Grant, Lord, 230. 
Prestonpans, 193. 
Primrose, Alison, 155. 
Princes Street, Edinburgh, 239, 240, 

241, 242, 257, 282. 

Gardens, Edinburgh, 224. 

Privy Council, 128, 130, 162, 163, 

168, 178, 179, 185, 205, 211, 


Council of England, iii. 

Provost, Lord, of Edinburgh, 39, 86, 

96, loi, 129, 161, 169, 187, 206, 

Provost's House, Edinburgh, 135. 

Quarterly Review^ the, 268. 
Queen Anne's Mansions, London, 

Margaret's Chapel, 12, 32. 

Mary's Tomb, 68. 

Queensberry, Duke of, 184. 

Duchess of, 219. 

Queensferry, 20, 172. 
Quhitness, John de, 39. 

Raebum, Henry, 244, 259, 264. 

Ragman Roll, the, 28. 

Ramsay, Sir Alexander of Dal- 

wolsey, 32. 
Allan, the elder, 223, 224, 233, 

Allan, the younger, 233, 234, 

235, 258, 259. 
Sir George, of Bamflf, 243, 244, 


Lady, 243, 244. 

of Ochtertyre, in his Scotland 

and Scotsmen^ 223, 226, 229. 

Randolph, Thomas, Earl of Moray, 

29» 30, 31. 
Reform Act, 274. 
Reformation, the, and Reformers, 

68, 83, 115, 124, 137, 149, 202, 

225, 233, 246. 
Reformed Commissioners, 114. 
Regalia of Scotland, 167. 
Register House, Edinburgh, 238, 

Reid, Adam, 151. 

Robert, Bishop, 137, 138. 

Walter, Abbot, 138. 

Restalrig Kirk, Edinburgh, 243. 
Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 235. 
Riccio, David, 131, 160. 
Richard H., King of England, 39, 

41, 42, 43, 44, 62. 

IIL, 76. 

Robert L, 31. 

n., 35, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43, 

Robertson, George, 212, 213. 

William, 143, 227, 234. 

Rogers, Samuel, 266. 
Rokeby, Sir Thomas de, 34. 
Romans, the, 3. 
Rome, 234. 

Bishop of, 115. 

Rood of Scotland, the Black, 9. 

Well, 15. 

Ros, Robert de, 19, 20. 
Roscelin, Sir Thomas, 33. 
Rosebery, Lord, 155, 254. 
Ross, 242. 

Duke of, 83. 

John, of Halkhead, 64. 

Rothes, Leslie, Earl of, in his 

Relation^ 163. 
Rothesay, Duke of, 45, 49. 
Rowlandson, 265. 
Roxburgh, 18, 24, 39, 47. 

Castle, 29, 66. 

Earl of, 162. 

Royal Bank (New Bank), Edin- 
burgh, 195, 197, 201. 

Exchange, Edinburgh, 297. 

Mews, Holyrood, 117. 

Vault at Holyrood Abbey 

Church, 68, 69. 
Rullion Green, 175. 
Ruthven, Sir Patrick, 166, 167, 
Ruthvens, the, 147. 



St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, 

20 1, 244. 
St Andrews, 16, 178, 199. 

Archbishop of, 161, 288. 

St Andrew's Church, Edinburgh, 

St Anne's Yards, Edinburgh, 253. 
St Botolphs, 29. 
St George's Church, Edinburgh, 

201, 239. 
St Giles, 238, 288. 
St Giles's Cathedral (High Kirk), 

Edinburgh, 41, 42, loi, 115, 

116, 120, 121, 122, 124, 127, 

133. 137, 151, 154, 159, 162, 
163, 213, 265, 289, 294. 

St James's Palace, 296. 

St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh, 

— Chapel, Edinburgh, 99. 

St Stephen's Church, St Albans, 

St Vincent Street, Edinburgh, 

Salisbury Crags, 15. 
Sauchieburn, 'j']^ 78, 79. 
Scheves, Archbishop, of St Andrews, 

Scone, 18, 27, 51, 54, 79. 
Scots Magazine^ 245. 
Scotsman^ the, 273. 
Scott, Sir Gilbert, 202. 

Robert, 224. 

Sir Walter, 59, 67, 154, 181, 

211, 212, 224, 226, 261, 262, 

263, 268, 270, 271, 275, 276, 

Monument, Edinburgh, 218, 

Scottish Chamberlain's Accounts, 

36, 67. 
Church, 115, 116, 277, 278, 


Exchequer Rolls, 34. 

Scougal, John, 233. 

Seafield, Lord Chancellor, 186. 

Seasons, The, 259. 

Seaton, Lord, J7. 

Select Society, the, 234, 258. 

Sempill, William Lord, 105. 

Sentinel, The, 273. 

Serpentine, Hyde Park, 241. 

Sharpe, Archbishop, i y^. 

Shaw Stewart, Sir Michael, of 

Greenock, 255. 
Shields, iii. 
Sibbald, Sir Robert, 141. 
Siddons, Mrs, 228, 242, 243. 
Signet Library, Edinburgh, 155. 
Simeon of Durham, 6. 
Simpson, Sir James, 144, 145. 
Skene, Dr, 7. 
Skirving, Adam, 193. 
Slateford, 191. 
Smith, Adam, 234, 258, 265. 

Sydney, 267. 

Smollet, Tobias, 260. 

Society for Encouraging Art, Science, 

and Industry, 258. 
Solemn League and Covenant, 168, 

169, 171. 
Sol way Moss, 109. 
Somerville, of Drum, Major, 166. 
Southampton, Earl of, 158. 
Spalding, John, 161, 162. 
Speymouth, 171. 
Spottiswoode, Archbishop, 162, 
Spur, the, Edinburgh Castle, 166. 
Stair Kerr, Eric, 30. 
Stair's, Lady, House, 254. 
Stephen, Leslie, 270. 
Stevenson, R. L., 269. 
Stewart, Alexander, 51. 

Archibald, 230. 

of Blackball, 167. 

Dugald, 258, 262. 

Sir James, 198. 

Sir James, of Lorn, 56. 

Colonel Sir John, 219. 

Lord Provost, 188, 190, 191. 

Sir Robert, 54. 

Walter, 51. 

Stirling, i, 2, 3, 13, 18, 24, 28, 39, 

56, 61, 62, 66, 76, 77, 92, 133, 

134, 163, 189. 

of Keir, 167 

New Park, at 57. 

Stockbridge, Edinburgh, 239. 
Straiten, David, 102. 
Strathbogie, 279, 282. 
Strivelyn, Sir John de, 33. 
Stuart, Colonel, 187. 

Lord James, 115. 

of Dunearn, 273. 

Surgeons' Hall, Edinburgh, 141, 




Surrey, Earl of, 87, 88 

Swift, Dean, 181. 

Synod of the Secession Church, 1 50. 

Tales of a Grandfather ^ 30. 

Taliessin, 5. 

Tanner's Close, Edinburgh, 90. 

Tantallon Castle, 52. 

Tarbat, James, 295. 

Taylor, John, 204. 

Joseph, in his Journey to 

Edenborough^ 204, 205. 
Tea-Table Miscellany^ 223, 224. 
Teulet, 134, 135. 
Teviot Row, Edinburgh, 89, 177. 
Thackeray, 269. 
Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, 242, 

Thistle, Knights of the, 247. 

Thomas, Chaplain of Edinburgh, 

Thomson, James, 259. 
Threave, the, 67. 
Tighearnach, 5. 
Tod, Dom Laurence, 289. 
Tolbooth, Edinburgh, 80, 97, 98, 

100, 123, 150, 151, 154, 161, 

165, 178, 193, 296. 

Kirk, Edinburgh, 225. 

Topham, Captain, in his Letters 

from Edinburgh^ 200, 208, 209, 

217, 218. 
Tore, Adam, 38. 
Totteridge Park, 112. 
Tournay, 42. 

Tours, Sir James, of Innerleith, 105. 
Tower of London, 67, 191, 275. 
Town Council of Edinburgh, 17, 62, 

69, 78, 81, 88, 96, 97, 98, 100, 

106, 119, 121, 122, 123, 124, 

125, 126, 128, 129, 130, 136, 

137, 138, I39j 140, 154, 157, 
159, 172, 175, 176, 177, 178, 
206, 211, 237, 238, 240, 242, 
256, 273, 274, 288, 294. 

Militia, 177, 179, 190. 

Train Band, see Town Militia. 

Tranent, 151, 192. 

Treaty of Union, 185. 

Trinity Church, Edinburgh, 125. 

Tullibardine, 135. 

Tweed, the, 88. 

Twiss, Richard, in his Travels 
through Portugal and Spain, 

Tyler, Wat, 40. 

Ulm, 166. 

Union, Act of, 185, 186, 277, 278. 

United Free Church College, Edin- 
burgh, 253. 

University, the, Edinburgh, 89, 
127, 130, 136, 137, 138, 140, 
141, 144, 228. 

Valenciennes, 42. 
Van der Goes, 70. 
Victoria, Queen, 71. 
Vienne, Sir Jehan de, 42. 

Walker, Misses, 202. 
Wallace, Captain, 179. 

of Craigie, 62. 

William, 28, 156. 

Walpole, Horace, 235. 

Ward's, Musselburgh, 245. 

Wark, 86. 

Warkworth, 62. 

War Office, 12, 182. 

Warriston, the Lady of, 302, 303. 

Water Gate, Edinburgh, 251. 

of Leith, 191. 

Waterloo, 262. 

Watson's, George, Hospital, Edin- 
burgh, 143. 
Webster, Dr Alexander, 225, 226. 
Weigh House, Edinburgh, 196. 
Weir, Robert, 302, 303. 
Wellesley, Sir Arthur, 261, 262. 
Wellhouse Tower, 36. 
Welsh Fusiliers, 213. 
West Bow, Edinburgh, 63, 214. 

Kirk, Edinburgh, 197. 

Marches, yy, 

Port, Edinburgh, 89, 161, l8l, 

187, 215. 
Westminster, 26, 82. 

Abbey, 27, 114. 

Whitefield, George, 242. 
Whitehall, 173, 180, 297. 
Wilkie, Professor, 234. 
William H., of England, 8. 

III., 179, 182, 247. 

portrait of, 283. 



William the Lion, i8. 

Rufus, 13. 

a Frenchman, 29, 30, 31. 

Wilson, 212, 213, 216. 

Sir Daniel, 12. 

John, of Kilmarnock, 260. 

Provost, 216. 

Wilsone, Johne, 151. 
Windsor, 235. 
Wintoun, Lord, 188. 
Witt, James de, 71. 

Wood. Sir Andrew, 78, 79. 
Wood s Farm, Edinburgh, 201. 
Worcester, 172. 

Works, Office of, Edinburgh, 247. 
Wright, Michael, 233, 234. 
Wyntoun, 33, 34, 42, 44- 

Yoleta, Queen, 20. 

York, Frederic, Duke of, 239. 

Young, John, 240. 







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Umversity of California